How to Regenerate MAM


As I promised last week, I want to discuss Musicians Association of Malawi (Mam) following a half an hour talk that I had with its President, Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango two weeks ago.
Rising from ‘Ashes’
As I have always complained in the last half of a decade that I have been writing about music on these pages, Mam has been a big letdown to me as well as to the owners – the musicians.
The initial mentality that was inculcated in the musicians was that Mam was a body that was there to be moving around with a begging bowl on behalf of musicians and that whatever ‘booty’ they would chance upon should be shared amongst the membership.
No wonder, to the shock of the current committee members, musicians always ask for alms. I can equally testify that many musicians have always begged for alms even from me.
The Rev. Mhango team has now a duty to change this defeatist attitude of musicians.
Embracing Mediocrity
Whenever you attend meetings organised by Mam in the past, it was crammed by musicians – or so they called themselves thus – who had no single track under their name. Or artists who have only released a single track or album that even without getting any bragging rights as it turned out to be a total flop, still made the owners give themselves undeserved acclaim that they are musicians.
The type of membership is the one that was used to getting undeserved allowances. Most of whom have not been inside a classroom or if they did, they never stayed long enough in that classroom to help them breakthrough in the industry.
Musicians used to behave strangely when called for music clinics. Like a pupil or student demanding payment for attending school, the musicians also wanted Mam or organisers to pay them for attending training workshops aimed at improving their music careers. There was completely no wish to self sacrifice.
It was therefore clear that previous committees of Mam embraced mediocrity by associating with dubious musicians and ignoring well established musicians.
The Rev. Mhango team is lucky because it has realised there is need to change this status quo. Already they have engaged with local music gurus that include Sir. Paul and Lucius Banda, Wambali Mkandawire and Ma Blacks, to mention but a few, from whom they hope to tap wisdom and more knowledge on how best to steer the body forward.
This is a process that is aiming at regaining trust and ensuring that musicians become responsible to sacrifice not only for the good of their association but for their own good as well.
Cosoma Board
As a mother of all artists from different disciplines including Mam, Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) has been operating in the last 7 years without a board.
Now, Mam says they have fought hard with other sister bodies and now government has promised to appoint a board this year.
Affiliation for Foreign Musicians
One other thing that Mam has negotiated with government for is to put up a mechanism where all foreign artists that come into the country to perform must pay temporary affiliation fee. This is because they come here to work and it would be one way where the association will get help by being given an opportunity for an alternative income.
Federation of Professional Musicians
Mam is not part, nay! Mam cannot be affiliated to Federation of Professional Musicians because as the requirements demand, the local musical body is not a union.
Rev. Mhango says at the moment they are currently negotiating with government so that they can attain a union status.
Regionalism
Within the association regionalism is also at the centre of its challenges, where musicians openly say they cannot work with the committee members running the association because they come from other regions in the country. This will only bring dire consequences for Mam and at the end of the day; the loser is the musician himself.
Fund Raising committee
It has always been strange that a body of musicians that has musical equipment has always been failing to organise fund raising shows. Now at the helm of the committee is Sally Nyundo and I am only waiting to hear what plan of action he will come up with so that by December we should hear how much Mam has fund raised and how this money has transformed the body.
Introduction of music in technical colleges
I have vigorously campaigned over here that music has to be drafted in the technical colleges. Previous committee never explored the possibility. I hope this time round this committee will do something about it.
There has never been one single trade that has generated youthful interest in Malawi at any given time than what music has done.
The technical colleges with music trade has to start with the elementary lessons in music in the first year, while in the second year, learners can choose who they want to become.

Guitarists, drummers, saxophonists, trombonists, percussionists, keyboardists or pianists should be one group while the other group should concentrate on music production, the third on music engineering in terms of studio recording while the other group should dwell on marketing.
Feedback: drummingpen@journalist.com

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Rock Sunday on Matindi


There are numerous misapprehensions when we hear or listen to a particular music genre. Even right here in our country there are mythical stories that go with the kind of music our musicians churn out.
There are illusionary views for reggae music which, for other strange forces, still receive an understanding from local and international gospel musicians, leading to its adoption by most of whom have their albums packed with reggae.
But there is isolation, or is it unwritten rule where rock music and its ‘satanic’ association have not enjoyed great reception; especially when it comes to hard rock.
What makes it worse is the fact that rock stars are, utmost, dressed in tattered jean clothes, not to mention the tattoos all over their bodies; bodies which are also pierced all over, even in unimaginable areas that only afford to send uncomfortable corporeal feeling down your spine, if you are religious.
Now, when I was switching around numerous radio stations last Sunday night, I think it was exactly at around 21:45 hours that I bumped into an inaugural musical programme on Matindi FM that, according to the presenter Alicia Siyasiya, will not only dish out rock music, hard and soft etcetera, but also dispel the illusions that has cast a bad spell on the way people accommodate the genre in Malawi.
I should believe, judging by her voice, the presenter is a young lady and what impressed me was the translucent passion in the genre that she demonstrated and the depth of knowledge that made the programme an element that sent me spell bound.
In between the programme she promised to present religious, or call it gospel tracks done in rock in the ensuing programmes just to show that the rock genre is not as bad as it sounds or the players behind it comport themselves.
This reminds me of pictorial story by Reuters found on this link http://www.reuters.com/news/pictures/slideshow?articleId=USRTR3F104#a=1
There is a Mexican priest Adolfo Huerta, known as “Gofo”, who was ordained five years ago, but is described as an unconventional priest because he likes rock music, dyes the ends of his hair red, dresses in black, and enjoys riding his motorcycle.
Father Huerta who says it is important to demystify faith and accept people’s differences without judgment, found God and priesthood while studying philosophy at the Pontifical University in Mexico City as well as working with HIV-positive patients and sex workers as a social activist.
In his sermons, Father Huerta references rock songs, quotes books and tells jokes. If you check his image you won’t differentiate it with that of Chad Robert Kroeger, a Canadian songwriter, singer, and guitarist best known as the lead vocalist and guitarist for the Canadian rock band Nickelback.
It is important to say it right here that rock music is a genre of popular music that originated as “rock and roll” in 1950s America before it developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States.
If your age is like mine, you will agree with me that our fathers and mothers will tell us how they used to grove to “rock and roll” beat around that time right here in Malawi, which would also take centre stage during the nationwide beauty contest.
Wikipedia states that Rock has also its roots in 1940s’ and 1950s’ rock and roll, and it is heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music besides drawing strongly on a number of other genres such as blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical sources.
Musically, it says, rock has centred on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with bass guitar and drums and it is a typically song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature utilizing a verse-chorus form.
It observes that the genre has become extremely diverse and common musical characteristics are difficult to define.
And this is the story Matindi Radio, through Rock Sunday is ready to tell us in order to demystify the unfounded illusion. I, for one applaud Alicia Siyasiya, her Executive Producer Vuto Zamadunga and the radio station for the effort.
When MAM President Calls
It is not always common that in this job, someone whom you discuss in critical shade should give you a call and pat you on the back.
Early last Monday I got a phone call from Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango, Musicians Association of Malawi (MAM) President.
He humbled me when he said he buys the Malawi News to see what I have drummed out right here week in, week out.
Going by his explanation, which I intend to discuss here last week in long breath, if all the plan and vision that the good Reverend and his team have come up with will fall into place, I can say here without fear of contradiction that the life of a Malawi musician, who at the moment is liken to a street beggar, will never be the same. Please watch this space.
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Forgotten Snowden Ibu


Malawi is a comical country to belong to. Its people are full of pretence. They will always bring a facade on almost everything they do. You believe what you see out of your own peril.

The story of Snowden Ibu is one typical example of such pathetic pretence. The country waits the day that this acoustic vibes master will come out and tell us that he has cancer and then the bells of recognition will ring at the same time before they will die out and bring out an intimidating dearth.

You don’t believe me? Look no further than at Stonard Lungu to know what I mean.

Lungu sang for us in all his life time and until cancer struck him, everyone else wanted to pretend to suggest how best he could be helped. The frustrating thing with Malawi is that they will give out millions of Kwacha for the ruling People’s Party night and only talk on what Lungu can do to raise money. We will help those that are not in need at all but let the helpless to find their way out of their financial or health maze, by themselves.

Having failed to elicit any positives from his begging bowl to have his cancer treated, Lungu was forced to go on stage to try to still perform even when he was experiencing excruciating pain in order to raise money to save his life, which was never to be.

Now, if you talk of acoustic artists that have graced our entertainment space in this country, the story will remain incomplete when it is told, minus the name, Snowden Ibu.

What is now surprising me is the revelation that even when I can recall lines of the track “Ndachita Mwayi” it is clear I listened to the music from radio MBC:

“Ndinali Kuyenda Pamseu;Tsiku Lina m’mawa

Apo ndinakumana ndi mkazi, amene ndinamulonjela

Ndinati mulibwanji; anati ndilibwino kaya inu anzanthu

Ndinamulankhula mawu; anandiyankha mokondwa,

Anati ndachita mwayi, Anati ndachita mwayi

Poyankhulidwa ndi inu bambo”

You can imagine that it is long time ago that I listened to this track, but I am still able to recall what its lyrics calls are and even the accompanying acoustic rhythm.

And to imagine that a musician of such influence, whose talent he has given to us all; soothing us with his music since 1969 when he began his career, he has no penny to show for it; how more heart breaking can it get.

It is even unbelievable that this acoustic maestro does not have a physical album that you can find on any shelve, be it in homes, or music libraries in the country, because he cannot afford one. Aren’t we a big joke as a country?

To start with, Musicians Association of Malawi should, at least, by now have been enforcing a deliberate policy to promote artist that have been tried and tested like Ibu.

By this time, the association should have been trembling in its wake at every mention of musicians like Mr. Ibu. He is the kind of guy whose musical pedigree only equals the figures that have long died; the likes of Allan Namoko, Lungu, Daniel Kachamba etc.

Zodiak Radio owner Gospel Kazako had a project that gave posthumous honour to fallen venerated Allan Namoko. He built him a tomb.

Now looking at the case of Ibu, you might be tempted to wrongly think that if people like Mr. Kazako cannot assist the likes of Mr. Ibu now, maybe he might, once they (the likes of the Ibu) kick a bucket?

When is the best time to help? I don’t know.

The second problem from where to look at the problem is on the lack of musical labels or companies worth their salt.

A genuine music firm will surely sign artists like Mr. Ibu knowing that their ware is not difficult to sell because they already have a foundation, unlike artists who are trying to break even.

Now, unless, people rush to assist the immensely talented when they are in need, they better stop whining when they are dead and give us useless eulogies on what great they would have achieved had they lived more.

Lucius Banda, Anthony Makondesa, Black Missionaries

When Lucius Banda, Anthony Makondesa and The Black Missionaries descend to town with a new album, there is always scampering for a copy, of course others run around to pirate the musical products.

But the effect of each of the three individuals’ new release is magical, to say the least.

Now imagine that the three of them decide to release their new albums at the same time, would it really not confuse the consumers and compromise the benefits to be accrued out of such products?

Added to all this is the question of economic hardships the country is currently experiencing, would the average person who is the dedicated patron afford to cough K4500 [Assuming each is selling at K1500 each] just to own the music at this point in time.

Feedback: drummingpen@columnist.com

 

 

Bingo’s Uchi Lingo


Bingo’s Uchi Lingo

Those who religiously follow Malawi music will remember Ishmael Dapalapa. He has been band leader for several Mzuzu based bands before he made headlines when he stormed the inaugural E-wallet.

I happen to have known Ishmael Dapalapa Mhango long before his musical exploits and when he released an album which never faired encouragingly on the market, I encouraged him never to give up, considering how frustrating the local music market is and how it is good at killing talent right in its bud.

I saw so much talent in the lad. But he never took heed. He trekked down to South Africa and I felt disenchanted because in my heart I said here is another lost talent.

Meanwhile, there was his young brother Bright Mhango who was busy with school stuff and although occasionally he would follow his brother to do some musical performances. I thought he was just a casual artist.    

Now he got so serious with his talent that he adopted a showbiz name Bingolingo – Bi for Bright and ngo from the surname Mhango and Lingo for language.

He released his debut album ‘Issues’; a 12-track multi-genre album with tracks coming in different forms that include rhythm and blues, Afro, reggae, hip-hop and local beat where unlike many artists of other tribes other than Chewa, he infused his chiTumbuka mother tongue in his tracks, of course with chiChewa sprinkled here and there.

In earnest, I would say he never chanced what is known as ‘beginner’s luck’ because many must be wondering who Bingolingo is.

The inaugural album has tracks like Kaswenga, Stay, Heart Broken, Sibwene, Ndiwe Wane, Mama,  Napulika, Timakondana, Ndidziwe, Ndiwe Wekha, Never Let You Go and Sindingathe and you can tell the rich vein of talent but more so the lack of maturity in other tracks.

If you log on www.reverbnation.com/bingolingoMW you will listen to the album.

You could tell that here is a lad with a golden voice but could not manage to ostensibly utilise it to his musical advantage.

I am the best untrained ear in the business and still hoped the best was yet to come from the young Dapalapa.

Now considering that it was in 2011 that he realised this album, now he has managed to release five tracks Uchi, She is trapped, Make you my wife, Pavuta Pano and Wahneeitorah muwteeimah in the forthcoming album ‘Mwachaje Satafuna’.

With these singles, now he has made me to listen to the Bingo Language with some serious attention. The ‘Bingolingo’ has added wise and unique words in its vocabulary.

Buoyed up by the revs he has received on the internet and perhaps in the local media, he has become mature in his approach. I am still in a state of disbelief that this young chap I have looked down upon as he was being overshadowed by his big brother has finally swayed me.

If you have been exposed to lover’s rock reggae genre, Uchi is one such track that will only be betrayed by the chiChewa lyrics that has been used. Remove the chiChewa words you would think it’s a Jamaican reggae beat or in other words you would think it is the Frank Paul type. In this track, you are left salivating for more such like tracks.

I must make my confession to demonstrate how attractive the track is. Two weeks ago, I was unable to report for work because I was sick. I asked my sister to escort me to a health facility and she came to pick me in her car (I am justified to mention this). We exchanged pleasantries and in the background a radio was playing and I was not curious to establish which radio it was.

But then when the reggae beat started playing, it got me startled and while my sister kept on rattling on, unbeknownst to her that she had lost me completely to the music and I now paid 100 percent attention to catch the back announcement to ascertain who is behind it, having realised it was Malawian.

It was going: Uchi-uchi uchi uchi uchi; uchi m’patse nlawe. Uchi-uchi uchi uchi uchi; uchi ndiwe sugar-sugar. Uchi-uchi uchi uchi uchi; uchi ndiwe super-super.

And the ensuing rhyming verses left me in appreciation of how playful he has been with the lyrics and how tight the backing instrumentation is. It is a simplistic approach to a sophisticated production that sticks to mind and that make children ably mimic it endlessly.

The DJ even said, I think this will be another street anthem and I can’t agree more.

There is also a track Pavuta Pano and if you are a Dan Lufani fan you would think this is his latest track only to be flabbergasted by the use of chiTumbuka.

The singles have also a redone version of  Wanitola Mtima renamed as ‘Wahneeitorah muwteeimah’ where he mixed Wambali Mkandawire type of beat with R’n’B showing some incredible innovation.

But just to show how unsure he is with music even with such talent he works at Blue Financial Services as a quality assurance officer and still pursuing an accounting course. How painful!

Simply put, the Bingo language has really started making much sense. Please try to catch up with him; seriously you will not be disappointed.

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How Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika died · State House Statement · Statement from Chair of the Commission Justice Singini · The Actual Report findings on How he died


How Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika died
• State House Statement
• Statement from Chair of the Commission Justice Singini
• The Actual Report findings on How he died

State House
Press Release
For Immediate Release
7th March 2013

Her Excellency Dr Joyce Banda makes public the Report on the Commission of Inquiry into the Death of the former President Ngwazi Professor BinguwaMutharika

Yesterday on 6th March, 2013 Her Excellency the State President Dr. Joyce Banda received the Report on the Commission of Inquiry into the Death of the former President Ngwazi Professor BinguwaMutharikaand issues of the transition at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe. When she received the Report Her ExcellencyDr Joyce Banda promised that tomake the Report available to the public as soon possible. Today on 7th March 2013, it has pleased Her Excellency Dr Joyce Banda to release the Report to members of the public. Attached is the Report. Also attached is the statement delivered by the Chairperson of the Commission at the presentation of the Report.

For inquiries contact
Steven Nhlane
Presidential Press Secretary
0888833906

1

BINGU COMMISSION OF INQUIRY:
CHAIRMAN’S STSTEMENT DURING PRESENTATION OF THE COMMISSION REPORT
We come before Your Excellency as members of the Commission of Inquiry which Your Excellency appointed by Order issued under your hand on 1st June 2012 to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the death of the late President of the Republic of Malawi, His Excellency Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika, who died a sudden death while in office as President of Malawi in April 2012 and also to inquire into issues of transition of State power following his death.
Allow me Your Excellency at this point to introduce members of the Commission who are here today. We have Mr. Joseph Airon, Retired Inspector General of Police; Dr. (Mrs.) Tiwonge Loga; Dr. (Mrs.) Elizabeth Sibale; Father Joseph Mpinganjira; Mr. Brian Nyasulu; Mrs. Esther Chioko; Mr. Jabbar Alide; and I am Justice Elton Singini, SC, a retired Justice of Appeal in Malawi, and Chairperson of this Commission. One of us, Dr. Charles Dzamalala, a pathologist, left for further studies in Australia midway through the Inquiry. As I reported to Your Excellency at the time of his departure, the Commission did not seek to have him replaced since by that time we had covered much of the ground on the aspect of death on which his expertise and participation was most needed. We however kept in constant touch with him and briefed him on matters for which we desired his input. We do wish him well in his studies. We have reports Your Excellency that he is actually topping his class there. I should also introduce Mr. Pacharo Kayira, Senior Deputy Chief State Advocate in the Attorney General’s Office, who has been the Secretary to the Commission.
After issuing the Order appointing our Commission, Your Excellency left the country on an official trip and delegated the Vice President to administer our oath of office. Thus, the Commission was sworn into office on 4th June 2012 before the Vice President, Rt. Hon. Khumbo Kachali, at a ceremony held at the Office of the President and Cabinet at Capital Hill, Lilongwe.
The Commission could not start on the work of its core mandate, that is, to conduct the Inquiry, until the Order of its appointment, as a statutory instrument, had been published in the Gazette which was on 22nd June 2012. However, before that date the Commission met a few times over 2

administrative matters, such as to draw up its work plan and also to consider the activities that were likely to be included in the budget for its work.
The Commission started to conduct the Inquiry on 9th July 2012 and commenced with a visit to State House in Lilongwe. This was because in our work methodology we decided to approach the Inquiry by following the course of events as they had occurred from the 5th of April, when the President collapsed in the Presidential audience room at State House, to the date of his burial on 23rd April. Apart from the visit to State House we also visited Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe where the President had been rushed to after his collapse and we also visited Kamuzu International Airport through which the President was evacuated to South Africa. The purpose of these site visits was to enable the Commission appreciate visually the settings in which the critical events of activity occurred particularly on the day of the President’s collapse. We are grateful that Your Excellency allowed us the opportunity to undertake the site visit to State House which we needed in relation to our work. Our visit to State House greatly facilitated the start and direction of our work.
As the Inquiry progressed the Commission assigned three of its members to travel to South Africa, namely, Commissioner Mrs. Chioko, Commissioner Mr. Airon and Commissioner Mr. Brian Nyasulu. They were accompanied by the Commission Secretary, Mr. Paharo Kayira. The purpose of the visit to South Africa, in particular to Johannesburg and Pretoria, was to trace the route and places the body of the late President was taken to in that country from the time of its arrival there to the time of its repatriation to Malawi and also to interview members of staff at the Malawi High Commission in South Africa who played a role in that connection. When they came back, the three Commissioners reported that they were well received and conducted around by the staff of the Malawi High Commission led by the Deputy High Commissioner, Mr. Alexious Godiya, in the absence of the High Commissioner, Mrs Agrina Mussa, who had been recalled from her post by the time of the visit.
Your Excellency, when we started our work we all accepted and hoped that we would complete the Inquiry within the period of two months prescribed by the statutory Order, under which we were appointed, as the period for the Commission to complete its work and present its Report to Your 3

Excellency. However, that was not to be. We soon found that the period of two months was a gross underestimate of the time we needed to conclude the Inquiry. The scale of this Inquiry, Your Excellency, was huge even just from the sheer numbers of persons that came to testify before the Commission, totalling 124 in all. So, Your Excellency, we carried on beyond two months as we had to until we completed the Inquiry in just under seven months, on 31st January 2013, when the Commissioners appended their signatures to the Report and when, on behalf of the Commission, I informed Your Excellency by memorandum that the Commission had completed the Inquiry up to compiling its Report. I however indicated to Your Excellency in that memorandum that the Commission needed about a fortnight to have the Report printed by the Government Printer for presentation to Your Excellency in printed and bound form.
Today, Your Excellency has graciously granted us audience during which we are to present our Report to Your Excellency. It is therefore our honour and privilege, as Commissioners, to present the Report to Your Excellency at this point of our audience; and to that end, may I ask all of us Commissioners to stand as I, on your behalf, move forward towards Her Excellency to present a copy of the Report and thus to mark the official presentation of the Report.
Now that Your Excellency has a copy of the Report before you, I wish to say a few words, and indeed only a few words, about the contents of the Report. I say only a few words because, Your Excellency, it is not the intention of the Commission through this occasion of presenting the Report to Your Excellency to draw Your Excellency’s attention, nor the attention of the general public, to particular parts or contents of the Report. It is our recommendation Your Excellency that our Report is to be read as a whole since all parts of the events of the episode covered by this Inquiry are related. Accordingly, on this occasion of presenting the Report to Your Excellency, we wish merely to highlight in broad outline only the scope of the Report.
The Commission understood its mandate to centre mainly on two issues, that is, the sudden death of President Bingu wa Mutharika and the events of political transition following his death up to the swearing in of the successor President who was Your Excellency. This Report Your Excellency has told the two-part story: the story of the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika and the 4

story of the political transition in considerable detail that depicts in some cases very minute details and graphic presentation of some of the events that took place.
Your Excellency, the Commission also considered to be within its mandate to extend its Inquiry to what were widespread reports of looting and missing of Government property at State House during the period of transition.
The Commission further considered it proper for it to inquire about certain unusual occurrences and issues during the period close to the President’s death that could have exerted extreme pressure on him, as a human being, as to possibly endanger his health given that he died a sudden death from collapsing. These were occurrences and issues such as: the absolute ultimatum by very influential and respected civil society bodies and other interest groups in the country demanding the President to resign within 60 days or to hold a referendum on the popularity of his administration within 90 days, failing which the groups would organize nationwide demonstrations against his administration; open signs of a failing economy reflected in severe shortages of fuel supplies resulting in long queues of motor vehicles at fuel stations throughout the country; severe shortages of foreign exchange affecting business operations; openly strained diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom, critically the former colonial power in Malawi, and also with some of Malawi’s neighbours, notably Zambia; withdrawal of programmes of financial and economic support to the Malawi Government by the World Bank and the IMF and withdrawal or suspension of aid by several major development partners, which severely affected Government budgetary operations.
Further, Your Excellency, among the unusual occurrences the Commission also recognized the widely publicised prophesy by T.B. Joshua, a Nigerian evangelist, which predicted the death of an African President in regions other than the West Africa region. In the aftermath of the sudden death of President Mutharika the evangelist displayed a letter he had received from President Mutharika and somehow connected the letter to some act of acknowledgement by the Malawi President of the power of his prophesy; and Malawians openly wondered if there was indeed a connection and what the letter by the President was about. 5

The Commission has made pertinent findings on all these aspects of its mandate. Perhaps in difference to what I have said that the Commission does not intend at this occasion to give details of the contents of the Reports, I can mention Your Excellency that on the aspect of death the findings of the Commission are that—
(a) On 5th April 2012 President Bingu wa Mutharika collapsed at State House in the Presidential audience room at around 11: 10 am and was taken into an ambulance rushing him to Kamuzu Central Hospital. He died on the way to the hospital and that was within minutes of his collapse before the ambulance reached hospital. The ambulance arrived at the hospital at about 11:25 am and the President was brought in dead;
(b) Medical personnel at Kamuzu Central Hospital nonetheless made attempts to resuscitate him but that was already too late. At around 2:30 pm doctors at the hospital pronounced him dead and informed the authorities of that fact;
(c) The cause of death of President Bingu wa Mutharika was irregular beating of his heart at that moment of his collapse, called cardiac arrhythmia, which resulted in him suffering a cardiac arrest.
(d) President Bingu wa Mutharika had a history of heart attack having suffered a minor heart attack in 2009.

Your Excellency, I should point out that, as regards the finding on cause of death, the Commission did not have the chance to look at the post-mortem report of the late President. The Commission made efforts to get the post-mortem report from the hospital authorities in South Africa but failed. We were informed that up to the time we finished the Inquiry, by 31st January this year, the report had not been issued by the doctors in South Africa. Earlier we had sought the intervention of Your Excellency for us to get the post-mortem report and we are aware that Your Excellency did make necessary contacts at your level. We understand that those contacts by Your Excellency have now resulted in the release of the post-mortem report of late President Bingu wa Mutharika which was to be handed over to the Malawi Government through the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), in particular to the Chief Secretary in that Office. However, we also understand that the South African doctor who was assigned to bring the report to Malawi and to hand it 6

personally to OPC decided, when he was in Malawi, to hand the report instead to the late President’s family and did actually hand it to one of the children. This happened some three weeks after the Commission completed the Inquiry and has had its Report printed.
With this information, the Commission met over this matter of the post-mortem report now being in the possession of someone within the Malawi jurisdiction. The Commission resolved nonetheless to proceed to present its Report to Your Excellency as already printed considering that the Commission had already wrapped up its business. Thus, as stated in the Report now before Your Excellency, the Commission has made its finding on the cause of death based on the testimony it received and from the Notice of Death completed by the doctors in South Africa which recorded the preliminary finding on cause of death.
As it was required to do under its Terms of Reference, the Commission has made several recommendations on various matters emanating from the issues covered in the Inquiry. There are recommendations concerning health care facilities available to the President on which, among other things, the Commission has recommended the establishment of a state-of- the art VVIP medical facility to be located at the headquarters of the Malawi Defence Force in Lilongwe for the medical treatment of the President in sickness, as well as in death, and this would also be to guarantee State security that goes with a person holding office as President.
Your Excellency the Commission considers that its Report makes many other worthy recommendations about the health care of the President and to address or avert the occurrence of a crisis of a constitutional order similar to the crisis that engulfed the country and was the subject of this Inquiry and about other matters covered in the Inquiry. The Commission commends all these recommendations to Government for serious consideration.
Your Excellency, the Commission wishes to state that this Inquiry was not a criminal investigation but rather it was an Inquiry to unravel the events of the period. However, the Commission is of the view that relevant authorities will be able to draw whatever conclusions they may deem proper from the facts as laid bare in this Report. 7

Further, Your Excellency, there is no doubt that this Inquiry was of immense interest to the general public in Malawi. It is also a public Inquiry of considerable significance in the history of this country, particularly in regard to constitutional and political development of post-colonial Malawi. The Commission therefore recommends that it may please Your Excellency to direct that the Report of this Inquiry, which we have presented to Your Excellency today, be made accessible to the people of Malawi as soon as possible through media dissemination among other means. Indeed, Your Excellency, it is the recommendation of the Commission that the Report, as a public document, could be reproduced for wider distribution including to public libraries for generations of Malawians to discern what they can from it.
In conclusion allow me, on my own behalf and on behalf of my fellow Commissioners, to thank you, Your Excellency, for the honour and recognition accorded to us by this appointment to serve our nation in this capacity. This was not an easy task and by the very nature of the crisis that was the subject of this Inquiry it could not have been, and was not meant to be, an easy task. However, as Commissioners we come before Your Excellency confident that we have delivered on our mandate. We appeal to all authorities, and indeed to all Malawians, to read this Report carefully and in full and to draw lessons for the country’s governance now and in future.
Also allow me, Your Excellency, to thank my fellow Commissioners for the dedication with which they served on the Commission. As a long serving public officer myself, though now retired, I can say to Your Excellency that the country has some of the finest brains among the Commissioners that served on this Commission. To my fellow Commissioners, I say that when we came together we started as strangers to one another and now, having spent seven months working together on this task, we part ways literally as members of the same family. And I know that we all cherish the valuable experience of service to our nation that we have gained through this work.
Your Excellency, we also had a very dedicated and diligent team of support staff. They were led by the Secretary to the Commission, Mr. Pacharo Kayira, and included five police officers (three men and two women), two court reporters who provided short hand for the verbatim record of the proceedings, 8

a research officer, accounts officers and administrative officers and two drivers. We acknowledge the part they played and we do thank them all.
We also wish to acknowledge the financial and administrative support we received from the Office of the President and Cabinet under the leadership of the Chief Secretary for our work and throughout the period of our tenure.
We also thank various institutions, mostly State institutions and media houses, both print and electronic, for documents and extracts of printed and broadcast material they kindly obliged to provide to the Commission for its work.
The Commission worked mostly from Ufulu Gardens Lodge in Area 43 in Lilongwe. The arrangement provided very suitable setting for the work of the Commission and we would like to extend our sincere thanks to the management and staff of Ufulu Gardens Lodge. We moved our venue only on very few occasions to Blantyre and to some lakeshore resorts in Mangochi and Salima. In a special way we would like to thank former President of the Republic of Malawi, His Excellency Dr. Bakili Muluzi, for receiving us at his BCA Hill residence in Blantyre where we interviewed him to the mutual convenience of both himself and the Commission.
Lastly, but by no means least, we thank all the individuals, high and low, who came before the Commission to testify. Virtually all persons we summoned or invited did come to testify before the Commission or to give their opinion to the Commission on critical issues. Some of them were summoned to appear more than once and they obliged. It is their stories that have been captured in our Report and, we believe, with proper balance.
I must apologise for taking so much of Your Excellency’s time, but it reflects the gravity of this Inquiry.
I thank you, Your Excellency.
6TH MARCH, 2013

REPORT
OF THE
COMMISSION OF INQUIRY
INTO CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE DEATH
OF THE LATE PRESIDENT
NGWAZI PROF. BINGUWAMUTHARIKA
AND INTO THE POLITICAL TRANSITION
FOLLOWING HIS DEATH

TABLE OF CONTENTS
LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT . . . . . . . . . . v
LIST OF COMMISSIONERS AND SECRETARIAT . . . . . . vii
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS . . . . . . . . . . vii
LIST OF APPENDICES . . . . . . . . . . viii
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS . . . . . . . . . . ix
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY . . . . . . . . . . x
CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
1.1 SCOPE OF THE REPORT . . . . . . . . . . 1
1.2 BACKGROUND . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
1.3 ISSUES ARISING FROM THE DEATH OF THE PRESIDENT . . 5
1.4 APPOINTMENT OF THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY. . . . 7
1.5 TERMS OF REFERENCE OF THE COMMISSION . . . . 8
1.6 METHODOLOGYANDWORKPLAN. . . . . . . . 8
CHAPTER 2
EVIDENCE TAKEN REGARDING THE DEATH OF THE PRESIDENT
2.1 MEDICAL ATTENTION AVAILABLE TO THE LATE PRESIDENT
IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING HIS DEATH . . . . . . . 9
2.2 EVENTS AT STATE HOUSE ON THE 5th OF APRIL 2012. . . . . 10
2.2.1 The President’s Appointments for the Day . . . . . . 11
2.2.2 AppointmentWith Hon. Mrs. Agnes Penemulungu, MP. . . . . 12
2.2.3 The President’s Collapse . . . . . . . . . . 13
2.2.4 Immediate Response to the Collapse of the President . . . . 14
2.2.5 Referral to Kamuzu Central Hospital . . . . . . . . 15
2.2.6 Arrival and Reception at Kamuzu Central Hospital . . . . 16
2.2.7 Admission and Treatment in the ICU . . . . . . . . 17
2.2.8 Arrival of Air Ambulance Doctors and Preparations for Departure . . 22
2.2.9 Departure for the Airport . . . . . . . . . . 23
2.2.10 Events at the Kamuzu International Airport . . . . . . 23
2.2.11 Hospital Records Regarding the Late President at the Kamuzu Central
Hospital . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
2.2.12 State House Press Release On the President’s Illness . . . . 26
2.3 EVENTS IN SOUTH AFRICA. . . . . . . . . . 26
2.3.1 Hiring of Air Ambulance . . . . . . . . . . 26
2.3.2 Arrival of the Air Ambulance in South Africa . . . . . . 27
2.3.3 South African Government Assistance . . . . . . . . 27
2.3.4 Preparations for Postmortem and Embalming . . . . . . 28
2.3.5 The Postmortem. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
2.3.6 Embalming of the Body. . . . . . . . . . . . 30
i
2.3.7 Prayers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
2.4 ARRIVAL OF THE BODY IN MALAWI AND BURIAL. . . . 31
2.4.1 Arrival of the Body . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
2.4.2 Condition of the Body Prior to Viewing at State House . . . . 31
2.4.3 Viewing by the General Public . . . . . . . . . . 32
2.4.4 Date of Death on the Cross Accompanying the Body . . . . 32
2.4.5 Burial of the Late President . . . . . . . . . . 33
CHAPTER 3
EVIDENCE TAKEN REGARDING ISSUES OF TRANSITION OF STATE
POWER
3.1 EVENTS ON 5th APRIL, 2012 . . . . . . . . 34
3.1.1 Discussions at Kamuzu Central Hospital . . . . . . . . 34
3.1.2 Meeting Between the Chief Secretary and the Attorney General . . 35
3.1.3 Call from the Chief Secretary to the Chief Justice . . . . . . 35
3.1.4 Meeting at Hon. Peter Mutharika’s House . . . . . . 35
3.1.5 Calling of Cabinet Ministers . . . . . . . . . . 40
3.1.6 Ministers Converge at Hon. Goodall Gondwe’s House . . . . 40
3.2 EVENTS ON 6th OF APRIL 2012. . . . . . . . . 40
3.2.1 Meeting Between Ministers Gondwe and Chiume with the Attorney
General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
3.2.2 Morning Meeting of Cabinet Ministers . . . . . . . . 42
3.2.3 Actions taken by the Vice President and Press Conferences on the Day 45
3.2.4 The Democratic Progressive Party National Governing Council Meeting 46
3.2.5 Evening Meeting of Cabinet Ministers . . . . . . . . 47
3.2.6 The Midnight Press Statement . . . . . . . . . . 48
3.2.7 Progress on the Court Case . . . . . . . . . . 50
3.2.8 Absence of Minutes of Meetings of Ministers on 6th April 2012 . . 52
3.3 EVENTS ON 7th APRIL 2012 . . . . . . . . 53
3.3.1 The Court Case . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
3.3.2 Meetings at Hon. Peter Mutharika’s House . . . . . . 54
3.3.2 (a) A Delegation to the United Nations Representative . . . . 54
3.3.2 (b) Attempt to Give Instructions to a Private Lawyer . . . . 54
3.3.3 Announcement of Death . . . . . . . . . . 56
3.3.4 Discussions between the Speaker of Parliament and the Chief Justice. 57
3.3.5 Press Conference by the Vice President . . . . . . . . 59
3.3.6 The Cabinet Meeting and the Swearing of the Vice President . . 60
CHAPTER 4
EVIDENCE TAKEN REGARDING THE ALLEGED LOOTING AND MISSING
GOVERNMENT PROPERTYAT THE STATE HOUSE
ii
CHAPTER 5
EVIDENCE TAKEN REGARDING UNUSUAL OCCURENCES AND OTHER
ISSUES PRIOR TO THE DEATH OF THE PRESIDENT
5.1 Prophecy by T.B Joshua and Interaction between the President and
T.B. Joshua . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
5.2 The Political and Economic Situation in the Country. . . . . 73
CHAPTER 6
FINDINGS
6.1 Date and Place of Death of the Late President . . . . . . 76
6.2 Cause of Death . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
6.3 Medical attention available to the late President immediately . . 78
6.4 Handling of the Body of the President After His Death . . . . 80
6.5 Other findings incidental to and connected with the death of the . . 80
6.5.1 Government Leadership in Managing the Affairs Relating to the . . 80
6.5.2 Information Regarding the Death of the Late President . . . . 81
6.5.3 Attempts to Conceal the Death of the Late President . . . . 82
6.5.4 Delay in Announcing the Death. . . . . . . . . . 84
6.6.1 Meeting in the Office of the Hospital Director . . . . . . 85
6.6.2 Attempts to Stop the Swearing in of the Vice President and . . 85
6.6.3 Request to the Army to take Over the Government . . . . 86
6.6.4 The Midnight Press Statement . . . . . . . . . . 87
6.6.5 Abandonment of the Court Process by the Attorney General . . 87
6.6.6 Attempts to Issue Court Process through Private Lawyer . . . . 88
6.6.7 The Judiciary and the Transition . . . . . . . . 88
6.6.8 The Malawi Defence Force and the Transition . . . . . . 88
6.6.9 Ministry of Justice and the Transition . . . . . . . . 89
6.6.10 Reports of Looting of Government Property During Transition . . 89
6 .7 Findings in respect of unusual events prior to the death of the President 89
6.7.1 Prophecy by T.B. Joshua and Books by T.B Joshua received by the
President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
CHAPTER 7
RECOMMENDATIONS
7.1 MEDICAL FACILITIES AND MEDICAL PERSONNELL FOR THE
PRESIDENT . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
7.1.1 Establishment of a Presidential Medical Facility . . . . . . 91
7.1.2 First Aid Facility at State House. . . . . . . . . . 91
7.1.3 Amendment of the President (Salaries and Benefits) Act . . . . 91
7.1.4 State of the Art Ambulance on Presidential Motorcade . . . . 91
7.1.5 Training of State House Personnel in First Aid . . . . . . 91
7.2 AVAILABILITY OF ESSENTIAL DRUGS IN THE ICU . . . . 92
7.3 ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE DEATH OF THE PRESIDENT . . 92
7.4 REVIEWOF THE CONSTITUTION . . . . . . . . 92
7.4 PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS AND PUBLIC OFFICERS . . . . 93
7.5 ORIENTATION FOR SENIOR PUBLIC OFFICIALS TO
STRUCTURES OF GOVERNMENT . . . . . . . . 93
iii
REPUBLIC OFMALAWI
COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO THE DEATH OF THE PRESIDENT
NGWAZI PROFESSOR BINGUWAMUTHARIKA
____________________________________________________________________
Ref. No: CI/BWM/03/2012 31st January 2013
LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT
Her Excellency Mrs Joyce Banda,
President of the Republic of Malawi,
Mrs. Joyce Banda,
State House.
Your Excellency,
REPORT OF THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY
On 1st June 2012, Your Excellency appointed a Commission of Inquiry to inquire
into all aspects surrounding the death of His Ecellency Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa
Mutharika, late President of the Republic of Malawi, and into issues of transition of
State power following the President’s death; and it pleased Your Excellency to appoint
us as Commissioners to undertake the Inquiry and to report our findings and
recommendations to Your Excellency.
We, the Commissioners, now have the honour to present our Report to Your
Excellency.
Yours respectfully,
Justice Elton Singini, SC (Retired)
Chairman ………………………………………
Dr. Charles Dzamalala
Member ………………………………………
Mr. Joseph Elwyn Aironi
Member ………………………………………
v
Dr. Tiwonge Loga
Member ……………………………………
Dr Elizabeth Sibale
Member …………………………………
Fr. Joseph Mpinganjira
Member ……………………………………
Mr. Brian Nyasulu
Member ……………………………………
Mrs. Esther Chioko
Member ……………………………………
Mr. Jabbar Alide
Member ……………………………………
vi
LIST OF COMMISSIONERS AND SECRETARIAT
1. Justice Elton Singini, SC. (Retired) Chairman
2. Dr. Charles Dzamalala Member
3. Mr. Joseph Elwyn Aironi Member
4. Dr. Tiwonge Loga Member
5. Dr. Elizabeth Sibale Member
6. Fr. Joseph Mpinganjira Member
7. Mrs. Esther Chioko Member
8. Mr. Brian Nyasulu Member
9. Mr. Jabbar Alide Member
10. Mr. Pacharo Kayira Secretary
LIST OF SUPPORT STAFF
1. Mrs. Jean Simwaka Principal Accountant
2. Mrs. Fanny Vanessa Mussa Personal Secretary
3. Mr. Samuel Mbweza Researcher
4. Ms. Zelia Mthunzi Stenographer
5. Mrs. Sophie Mbewe Stenographer
6. Mr. Fanuel Herbert Chagunda Security
7. Mr. Nelson Chamalonda Security
8. Mrs. Agness Mulenga Security
9. Mrs. Pyra Chitukwi Security
10. Mr. Lovemore Simba Security
11. Ms. Taona Gondwe Messenger
12. Ms. Mercy Zaombampeni Driver
13. Mr. Fred Chitsulo Driver
LIST OFABBREVIATIONS
ADC Aide De Camp
AG Attorney General
BBC British Broadcasting Corporation
CPR Cardial Pulmonary Resuscitation
DPP Democratic Progressive Party
ECG Electrocardiogram
ICU Intensive Care Unit
KCH Kamuzu Central Hospital
KIA Kamuzu International Airport
MBC Malawi Broadcasting Corporation
MDF Malawi Defence Force
NGC National Governing Council
NIS National Intelligence Service
OPC Office of the President and Cabinet
SABC South African Broadcasting Corporation
SANDF South Africa National Defence Force
ZBS Zodiak Broadcasting Station
vii
LIST OFAPPENDICES
Annex 1: Gazette Notice, 22nd June 2012
Annex 2: Rules of Procedure of the Commission
Annex 3: List of witnesses interviewed
Annex 4: Summons ofWitness
Annex 5: Information note to witnesses
Annex 6: Oath- English
Annex 7: Oath- Chichewa
Annex 8: Transcript of State House Press Release, 5th April 2012.
Annex 9: Statement of former President Dr. Bakili Muluzi
Annex 10: Vice President Press Conference on 6th April 2012
Annex 11: Midnight Six Statement on 6th April 2012
Annex 12: OPC Statement on death of President Mutharika
Annex 13: List of medical equipment for President Mutharika
Annex 14: Vice President Statement on death of the President
Annex 15: Air ambulance Letter of guarantee, 5th April 2012
Annex 16: Air ambulance Letter of guarantee, 6th April 2012.
Annex 17: Notice of death of President Mutharika
Annex 18: Attorney General’s Legal Opinion, 6th April, 2012
Annex 19: Witness statement of Chief Justice, 6th April, 2012
Annex 20: Counsel’s Statement for the chief Justice, 20th May, 2012.
Annex 21: Chief secretary’s statement to Ministers, 6th April, 2012
Annex 22: Certificate of Urgency for court application, 6th April, 2012.
Annex 23: Originating summons for court Application, 6th April, 2012
Annex 24: Affidavit of Goodall Gondwe.
Annex 25: Affidavit of Dr. Jean Kalirani
Annex 26: Affidavit of Henry Mussa
Annex 27: Skeleton arguments in support of application
Annex 28: Draft order of the court
Annex 29: President’s Letter to Chief secretary 6th April 2012
Annex 30: Vice President’s Press Conference Statement, 7th April 2012
Annex 31: Picture of T.B. Joshua Book
Annex 32: Rev. Gama’s Memo to President Mutharika, 26th May 2011
Annex 33: President Mutharika’s Letter to T.B. Joshua, 24th February, 2012
Annex 34: Air Ambulance Movement Notification, 5th April, 2012
Annex 35: General declaration for Air Ambulance, 5th April 2012.
Annex 36: Schedule of Immigration Exit forms, 5th April, 2012.
Annex 37: Letter of Chief Immigration Officer, 6th April 2012.
Annex 38: Statement of Malawi Law Society, 7th April 2012.
Annex 39: KCH, ICU sideward where President’s body was kept
viii
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We, the Commissioners, wish to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to
the State President, Her Excellency Mrs Joyce Banda, for the honour in appointing us
to the Commission of Inquiry into the death of the Late President Ngwazi Professor
Bingu wa Mutharika and into issues of transition of State power following his death.
The Commissioners acknowledge, with appreciation, the financial and
administrative support from the Government of Malawi, through the Office of the
President and Cabinet and the Ministry of Finance, to facilitate the work of the
Commission.
The Commissioners would like to thank the management and staff of Ufulu Gardens
in Lilongwe which was the base of the Commission for the most part of its work.
The Commissioners would like to thank the Secretary for the Commission, Mr.
Pacharo Kayira, for competently managing the entire process of the Commission
Lastly, but not least, the Commissioners express their gratitude to the support staff
of the Commission who worked diligently behind the scenes.
.
ix
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
This is the Report of the Commission of Inquiry that was appointed by Her
Excellency the President of the Republic of Malawi, Mrs. Joyce Banda, to inquire into
the circumstances of the death of the former President of the Republic of Malawi,
Ngwazi Prof. Bingu waMutharika, and into issues of transition of State power following
his death. The Report has been divided into chapters as follows:-
Chapter 1 outlines the scope of this Report and gives the background to the
appointment of the Commission of Inquiry. It outlines Terms of Reference for the
Commission, the procedure that was adopted during the Inquiry and the methodology
and work plan for the Commission.
Chapter 2 examines the evidence that the Commission heard on the aspect of the
death of the President. Several testimonies were examined under this head and the
Commission has highlighted the key evidence taken relevant to the issue. The Report
has tackled the evidence by following the sequence of events. It has considered evidence
from the time that the President fell ill at State House to the time that the President’s
body was brought back from South Africa to Malawi and to the time it was buried.
Chapter 3 examines the evidence that the Commission received on the issue of
transition of State power during the period. It also examines the role that various people
played during the period and analyses the activities that took place at the time. The
Report has looked at various meetings that took place during that period and the key
events that happened during the period.
Chapter 4 looks at the issue of the alleged looting and unauthorized removal of
Government property at State House during the period. It has examined key evidence
in respect of the matter with a view to establishing whether there was indeed looting,
stealing and/or unauthorized removal of Government property.
Chapter 5 examines the evidence that was received in respect of some unusual
occurrences and issues that were present during the period eimmediately before the
President’s death. The Report notes that there were certain occurrences during the period
which may have exerted pressure on the late President. The Commission therefore
received evidence on the issue of the prophesy by T.B. Joshua about the death of an
African President. It has also examined the prevailing political and economic conditions
in the country during that period.
Chapter 6 lays down the Findings that Commission has made in the relation to its
Terms of Reference.
Chapter 7 deals with the recommendations of the Commission. The Commission
has made several recommendations relevant to the issues of the Inquiry.
The Commission recommends that this Report should be read as a whole, as one
document. All the parts are related, and must be understood as part of the whole.
x
CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
1.1 SCOPE OF THE REPORT
This is the Report of the Commission of Inquiry that was appointed by the State
President of the Republic of Malawi, Her Excellency Mrs. Joyce Banda on 1st June
2012. The main tasks of the Commission were two fold1.
Firstly, the Commission was mandated to inquire into circumstances surrounding the
death of the former President of the Republic of Malawi, Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa
Mutharika, who died in April 2012 during his term of office.
Secondly, the Commission was mandated to investigate the role of various
individuals, on the issue of transition of State power following his death.
Accordingly, the Report has tackled these two main issues of its mandate under the
statutory Order issued by Her Excellency establishing the Commission and published
in the Gazette issue of 22nd June 2012.
Apart from these two main issues, the Commission has examined the issue of health
facilities accorded to the former President prior to his death and has also examined the
general state of health facilities and health care accorded to the holder of the office of
President in Malawi. In addition, the Report has looked at the coincidence of the
presence of some unusual occurrences prior to the death of the late President and has
looked at issues about media reports of looting and missing property at State House
during the period.
At the end of the Report, the Commission has made recommendations to the
President on the two main aspects of the Inquiry and also on other related and pertinent
issues covered during the Inquiry.
1.2 BACKGROUND
On the afternoon of 5th April 2012, a dark cloud hung above the Republic of
Malawi. There were rumours, shortly after midday, that the President of the Republic
of Malawi, Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika, had collapsed at State House in
Lilongwe, and had been rushed to Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) for medical
attention.
As the day progressed, the rumours grew stronger. Unconfirmed reports on the
matter started to emerge from local private radio stations2, some international media3,
and also social networking internet sites such as Facebook and twitter. Some media
houses, most notably Zodiak Broadcasting Station radio, pursued the rumours further
and ended up sending reporters to KCH where the President was reported to have been
referred to. The radio station made live broadcasts of the events at the hospital as they
1
1 See Government Notice of Appointment of the Commission in the Gazette dated 22nd June 2012 attached as Annex 1
2 Such as Zodiak Broadcasting Station, Capital Radio, Joy Radio, MIJ FM.
3 Such as British Broadcasting Corporation, CNN, Aljazeera, Sky News.
unfolded. Among other reports, the station confirmed that there were indeed some
unusual activities at the hospital that pointed to the fact that the President, as it was
largely perceived, or a very senior member in the Malawi Government, may indeed
have been taken ill and referred there for medical attention. The radio station reported
that apart from the heavy police and State House security presence at the hospital,
several high profile people in Government and politicians, and also members of the
family of the Head of State including the First Lady, Madam Callista Mutharika, were
seen arriving at the hospital. At this point, there was no official statement from State
House or from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), neither was there any
report from the state broadcaster,Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) on radio or
television.
The radio reports from private radio stations were initially not conclusive regarding
the exact person who had been taken ill and referred to the hospital. However, the
information unofficially gathered by the media at the hospital strengthened the
indication that it was the President who had been taken ill and referred to the hospital.
By late afternoon, it became clear that the person admitted at the hospital was indeed
the President. This became the news on the private radio stations and social media.
As the day progressed, it was reported that preparations were underway to fly the
President to South Africa for further treatment. At this point, the media reported about
fresh strange occurrences at the hospital. It was reported that people who had earlier in
the day gone to see the President in hospital had all left the hosiptal. This led to
speculation of death. The people reported to have left included the First Lady, Madam
CalistaMutharika, and the President’s daughter,Mrs. DuwaMutharika-Mubaira, and the
President’s brother, Hon. Peter Mutharika.
While confirming about the possible transfer of the President from KCH to South
Africa, the media reported that the State House ambulance that was meant to take the
President to Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) en-route to South Africa, had been
stationed at the exit normally used for patients who have died and were being moved
to the mortuary through the basement of the hospital. The reports further indicated that
people who had earlier gone to the hospital to visit their relations were being cleared
from hospital corridors by state security personnel. This included media reporters.
Reports actually emerged that one reporter4 was briefly arrested by the police for being
found around the hospital premises and for relaying the events at the hospital live on
radio. He was verbally cautioned and later released and told to immediately leave the
hospital premises.
In the evening, news was widespread that confirmed that the President had indeed
been taken ill earlier in the day, and was the high profile person referred to KCH. News
was also widespread that the President had been moved from KCH to KIA for
evacuation to South Africa. A press statement from the State House Press Office was
released later in the evening onMBC radio and television5 to the effect that the President
had fallen ill and would be moved to South Africa for further specialist treatment.
2
4 Norman Fulatila of Zodiak Broadcasting Station.
5 8 O’clock News Bulletin, see transcript attached hereto as Annex 8
At the airport, it was noted by reporters from the private media, who kept informing
people about what was happening, that some unusual events were taking place there. It
was reported that the ambulance carrying the President from KCH had passed through
the technical section of the airport instead of the VIP section that he would normally use
when leaving or entering the country. It was further reported that the air ambulance
from South Africa that had been chartered to evacuate the President to South Africa
was being delayed for several hours for inexplicable reasons. It was later reported that
the plane finally departed KIA around midnight for South Africa.
On the morning of 6th April 2012, one of the local newspapers6 carried a report
which described the events of the previous day. The paper reported that the President
had been taken ill the previous day at State House and was referred to KCH. It further
reported that the President had suffered cardiac arrest and had since been airlifted to
South Africa for specialist treatment. In the article the then Minister of Energy and
Mining, Hon. Goodall Gondwe, was reported to have confirmed to the paper that the
President had been evacuated to South Africa. When the paper asked Hon. Gondwe
about the condition of the President he was reported to have responded that “he was not
in very good condition but I am told his health is improving now.” By this time,
however, rumours were rife in the country that the President had passed away. The
international media7 in particular started reporting about the death of the President in
SouthAfrica. The news of the death of the President was commonplace on the day and
was abound in the social internet sites and online publications. There was however no
such confirmation from the appropriate authorities in the country.
Late in the morning of the same day, 6thApril, the former President of the Republic
of Malawi, Dr. Bakili Muluzi, addressed a press conference at his BCA Hill residence
in Blantyre.At the press conference, the former President issued a statement calling for
respect for constitutional order in the country following the events of the previous day.
He pointed out that the law was very clear on the issue of succession of power in the
event that the incumbent was not able to perform his or her duties.8
In the afternoon, civil society organizations in the country through the civil society
coalition group also held a press conference at Riverside Hotel in Lilongwe where they
issued a press statement calling for the proper constitutional order to be observed in the
country during the time by all in authority.
Later in the afternoon, the Vice President of the Republic of Malawi, Rt. Hon. Mrs.
Joyce Banda, also called a press conference which she addressed at her official residence
in Area 12 in Lilongwe9. This press conference was aired on Zodiak Broadcasting
Station and other private radio stations, but the state broadcaster, Malawi Broadcasting
Corporation (MBC), did not air the press conference.At the press conference, the Vice
President informed the nation that the President was unwell, and that she was in touch
with the authorities in the Government of the Republic of South Africa who were
providing her with updates of the President’s condition. She further informed the nation
that the President had been incapacitated and that the Constitution will have to take its
course.
3
6 The Daily Times, 6th of April 2012, front page article titled ‘Bingu’s’ illness creates anxiety’ by Macdonald Thom.
7 Such as BBC, CNN, Sky News, Aljazeera, SABC, eTV.
8 See the statement of former President Dr. Bakili Muluzi dated 6th April 2012, attached as Annex 9
9 Monitored on Zodiak Broadcasting Station, see Transcript attached as Annex 10.
In the evening of the same day, 6th April, MBC announced that there was going to
be a press conference by Government on MBC late in the evening. At or around
midnight, a group of six CabinetMinisters, namely, Hon.Mrs. Patricia Kaliati,Minister
of Information and Civic Education, Hon. Symon Vuwa Kaunda, Minister of Sports,
Youth Development andWelfare, Hon. Henry Mussa, Minister of Local Government
and Rural Development, Hon. Dr. Jean Kalirani, Minister of Health, Hon. Nicholas
Dausi, Deputy Minister in the Office of President and Cabinet and Hon. Kondwani
Nankhumwa, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation,
appeared on the MBC Television where they read out a statement10. The statement was
to the effect that the statements made earlier in the day by the then Vice President, Right
Hon.Mrs. Joyce Banda, and the former President, Dr. BakiliMuluzi, at their respective
press conferences, regarding the issue of succession to the Presidency, were misleading.
It further stated that the conduct of the Vice President in forming her own political party
precluded her from succeeding the Presidency. The statement further appealed to
Malawians “to remain calm and not to listen to any misleading information coming
from anyone except official government sources”.
In the morning of 7thApril, theMalawi Law Society issued a strongly worded press
statement warning against attempts to subvert the country’s constitutional order. The
statement is attached as Annex 38.
On 7th April 2012, as the morning was breaking, one of the weekend newspapers,
Malawi News11 carried an article titled “Bingu Dead”. The news of the death was
confirmed by an official announcement from the Office of the President and Cabinet
(OPC) at 8 am.12 The announcement from OPC further confirmed that the President had
suffered cardiac arrest and had died at One Military Hospital in South Africa.
Later in the morning around 11 am that day, the Vice President held a press
conference at her official residence in Area 12 in Lilongwe, where she also officially
announced to the Malawi nation the death of the President, Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa
Mutharika. She informed the nation that the President was pronounced dead on arrival
at OneMilitary Hospital in SouthAfrica. She further informed the nation that there was
going to be a Cabinet meeting in the afternoon that day. She appealed to the people of
Malawi to maintain law and order. In response to a question from the press which
alluded to looting at state residences, she appealed for a stop to such conduct.
Cabinet met in the afternoon as scheduled and the Vice President presided over the
meeting. All Ministers attended the meeting except three, namely, Hon. Dr. George
Chaponda, who was reportedly out of the country, Hon. Reene Kachere, who was
reported to be unwell, and Hon. Peter Mutharika, who was in mourning as family
member.
As this Report will indicate, on 6th April 2012, Cabinet Ministers met among
themselves without the Vice President when they resolved to pursue a court case to seek
an order to prevent the Vice President from succeeding the late President in the
circumstances. At the Cabinet meeting on 7th April, which was called by the Vice
President, all Cabinet Ministers present pledged their support to the Vice President and
reversed the earlier decision to contest her succession to the Presidency and agreed to
withdraw the court application. Cabinet then resolved to have the Vice President sworn
in as President that afternoon.
4
10 See the Midnight Press Statement attached as Annex 11
11 The Malawi News, 7th April 2012.
12 See the Official announcement of the death of President Mutharika by the Office of the President and CabinetAttached
as Annex 12
Late on that day, 7th April, the Vice President was sworn into office as the fourth
President of the Republic of Malawi by the Chief Justice at a ceremony held at
Parliament Building in Lilongwe. During the swearing ceremony the President
addressed the Malawi nation after taking oath.Among other things, she announced the
formation of a committee to oversee the funeral arrangements of the late President. She
emphasized the need to accord the late President decent burial befitting a Head of State
and declared 10 days of national mourning. Government later declared 30 days to be the
period of mourning.
The remains of the late President returned in the country from South Africa on
Saturday, 14thApril 2012, through Kamuzu InternationalAirport aboard a SouthAfrican
National Defence Force (SANDF) plane escorted by members of SANDF officers. At
the airport, the body was handed over to members of theMalawi Defence Force (MDF)
with full military honours. The body was officially received by the President, Her
Excellency Mrs. Joyce Banda, and by Cabinet Ministers among other dignitaries and
multitude of people.
From the airport, the body was taken to State House where laying-in-state began.
The first viewing of the body was led by the President, family members and a number
of VIPs on the same day. Viewing continued at State House the following day, 15th
April. On Monday, 16th April, the body was moved from State House to Parliament
Building for public viewing. There, too, viewing was led by the State President. From
Lilongwe the body was taken toMzuzu for viewing on 17thApril atMzuzu State Lodge
and then later to Blantyre on 18thApril, for viewing at Sanjika Palace on 19th and 20th
April and finally to the late President’s Ndata Farm in Thyolo on 21stApril for viewing
on the same day, 21st, and on 22nd April 2012. The late President was buried on 23rd
April 2012 in the family mausoleum called Mpumulo wa Bata at that farm in which his
late wife, Madam Ethel Mutharika, who predeceased him, was also buried. His burial
was attended by several Heads of State and Government and other foreign dignitaries.
1.3 ISSUES ARISING FROMTHE DEATH OF THE PRESIDENT
The sudden death of the late President was a shock to the nation. There were no
previous reports of the President’s sickness. Questions started circulating around as to
what actually caused the death of the President. People started wondering if the death
had a connection with the earlier prophecy of the death of a President by a well-known
evangelist, Temitope Balogun Joshua (T.B. Joshua), of Nigeria. Ealier in the month of
February 2012, T.B. Joshua had predicted the death of an African President. Up to the
point of appointing this Commission of Inquiry, there had been no confirmation of the
cause of the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika or the circumstances surrounding
his death by the authorities.
Related to the death, questions were being asked as to whether the late President
had received proper medical attention to during the time prior to his death. People were
still asking as to whether everything possible had been done to save his life after he had
collapsed at State House.
5
It was further noted that during the viewing period, the President’s date of death
that was inscripted on a cross placed on the casket kept changing. The Daily Times
newspaper13 covered a story titled “Confusion Over Bingu’s Death” which highlighted
different dates of death indicated on the cross. The article observed that on the day that
the body arrived from South Africa, the cross had an inscription that the late President
died on 7thApril 2012. The following day, however, the date of 7th was crossed out and
another date, 5thApril 2012, was inscripted. The article further noted that according to
the officials, the President died on arrival at One Military Hospital in South Africa,
which was on 6th of April. The article further noted that according to some KCH
officials, the President had been brought to KCH “clinically dead” just before lunch
hour on 5th April 2012. Accordingly, the nation was asking questions as to where and
when the late President died.
The nation was also asking questions as to why the announcement of death had been
delayed. There were rumours of the death of the President much earlier than the
announcement of his death by the Office of the President and Cabinet. Questions were
being asked as to why the international media was first to announce the death of the
President while our own state media was silent on the issue.
The late announcement of the President’s death also posed questions as to whether
there were indeed attempts to hide the President’s death by those in authority or in the
then ruling party and for what purpose.
The nation was further asking questions regarding the events that happened during
the period in respect of transition of State power. It was reported that during the period
there were attempts by certain individuals to derail the constitutional handover of State
power to the then Vice President. That was why several people and organizations
quickly moved in to address press conferences or to issue statements in support of, and
calling for, constitutional order in the country. The issue of the statement read close to
midnight on 6thApril 2012 raised questions regarding its authorship and intended goals.
Anewspaper article in The Nation on Sunday newspaper titled “DPPWanted To Install
Peter Mutharika – Ministers”14 quotes several individuals on how attempts were made
to circumvent the constitutional provisions regarding succession of the late President.
The Nation newspaper of 13thApril 2012 carried an article15 on how the then ruling
party panicked over the death of the late President and how the party wanted to swear
another person as acting President, other than the Vice President who was supposed to
be the one to be sworn as provided by the Constitution. Paragraph 2 of the article states:
“DPP was so overwhelmingly against Banda that, The Nation can
reveal, the party was ready to have Peter sworn in as Acting President
on Friday night.”.
Further the issue of the statement that was read close to midnight of 6th April 2012
was widely discussed in the press. An article in The Nation newspaper16 titled “OPC
6
13. The Daily Times newspaper dated 18th April, 2012, article by Golden Matonga.
14. Nation on Sunday, by Steven Pembamoyo, dated 8th April, 2012.
15. Article titled “How DPP Panicked” by Kondwani Munthali.
16. The Nation, Monday 9th April, 2012.
Disowns DPP Cabinet Meeting” with a sub-heading “Kaliati Explains Her Role in
Succession Statement” stated that it was clear that there were contradictions between
Government officials and the Ministers on the issue of the statement and the meetings
that took place at OPC. The article stated that while theMinisters on one side indicated
that these meetings took place and were called by OPC, the Deputy Chief Secretary in
the Office of the President and Cabinet, Mr. Necton Mhura, was quoted as saying that
OPC did not call for these meetings and that they did not sanction the so called
“Midnight Six Statement”.
It is clear that the death of the late President brought about several issues and
questions whose answers were not available.Accordingly, Her Excellency proceeded to
set up this Commission of Inquiry to look into these issues.
1.4 APPOINTMENT OF THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY
In her first State of the Nation Address as she was opening the 44th session of
Parliament on 18th May 2012 the State President, Her Excellency Mrs. Joyce Banda,
informed the nation that there were so many unanswered questions regarding the death
of the former President. The President stated that she was therefore going to appoint a
Commission of Inquiry to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the death of the
President and events that followed. Accordingly, on 1st June 2012, the State President
appointed this Commission of Inquiry to inquire into the death of the former President
of the Republic of Malawi, Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika, and the role and
activity of various individuals during and in managing the transition.
The Commission consisted of nine members as follows:
Justice Elton Singini, SC. (Retired) Chairman
Dr. Charles Dzamalala Member
Joseph Elwyn Aironi Member
Dr. Tiwonge Loga Member
Dr. Elizabeth Sibale Member
Fr. Joseph Mpinganjira Member
Mrs. Esther Chioko Member
Mr. Brian Nyasulu Member
Mr. Jabbar Alide Member
Mr. Pacharo Kayira Secretary
Swearing of Commissioners took place onMonday 4th of June 2012 at OPC before
the Vice President, Rt. Hon. Mr. Khumbo Kachali. The Commission commenced its
work after the order establishing it was published in the Gazette issue of 22nd June
2012.17
7
17. See Annex 1.
1.5 TERMS OF REFERENCE OF THE COMMISSION
The Commission of Inquiry was given the full mandate to consider, determine and
inquire into all aspects surrounding the death of the late President including but not
limited to the following:
(i) Establishing the date and place of death;
(ii) Establishing the cause of death;
(iii) The medical attention available to the late President at the time immediately
preceding his death;
(iv) The role and activities of various individuals during, and in managing the
period (the “transition”) between the death of the late President and swearing
in of the President; and
(v) Making such inquiry, and such findings and recommendations, as are
incidental to and connected with the death of His Excellency the Late Ngwazi
Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika, and the role and activities of various individuals
during, and in managing the transition.
1.6 METHODOLOGYANDWORKPLAN
The Commission held its first planning meeting on 18th June 2012. It was agreed
that the method that it was going to follow for conducting the Inquiry was through
hearings that were to be held mainly in Lilongwe and also in other parts of the country
if necessary. It was further resolved that there was going to be review meetings after
hearing sessions in order to scrutinize and consider evidence the Commission had
received. The Commission further set down the procedure for its meetings and for
summoning of witnesses. On procedure, the Commission resolved to hold all its
hearings in camera.
The Commission further resolved that public notices be placed in newspapers calling
for information from people who knew anything regarding the death of the President or
regarding issues of transition of state power. In order for the Commission to have a full
appreciation of what had taken place during the concerned period, it was also resolved
that the Commission would conduct site visits where necessary.
On how to proceed with the Inquiry the Commission resolved that it was going to
follow the sequence of events during the period. This was going to begin with the events
at the State House on the day in question, the referral to KCH, the evacuation through
the Kamuzu International Airport to South Africa, the events in South Africa and the
return of the body to Malawi and burial and, finally, the issues of transition of state
power.
During the Inquiry the Commission interviewed 123 witnesses in all18.
8
18.List of witnesses interviewed, Annex 3
CHAPTER 2
EVIDENCE TAKEN REGARDING THE DEATH OF THE PRESIDENT
2.1 MEDICAL ATTENTION AVAILABLE TO THE LATE PRESIDENT
IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING HIS DEATH
One of the terms of reference for the Commission was to examine the medical
attention available to the late President at the time immediately preceding his death.
The Commission considered this specific term of reference and agreed that it was a
very important aspect that needed to be looked at holistically. The Commission
understood this part to include the immediate attention that was given to the late
President when he collapsed at State House on the fateful day, and the general medical
care that was available to the late President prior to this occurrence. In examining this
latter aspect, the Commission considered the issue of medical personnel and medical
facilities that were available to the late President.
In Part I of the Schedule to the Presidents (Salaries and Benefits) Act, Cap 2:02 of
the Laws of Malawi, it is provided that the President shall be entitled to:
“Free medical services and a personal physician for the President,
spouse and children under the age of 18 years.”
Thus, in terms of statutory entitlement, this is the only provision regarding the
medical benefits of the President.
It was heard in evidence that the late President had the services of a personal
physician, Dr. Dan Namarika. He was appointed to that position on 9th July 2009.19
According to the information given to the Commission, the President did not have a
personal physician prior to the appointment of Dr. Namarika.
In addition to the personal physician, the President also had a personal nurse, Mrs.
Thenjiwe Dissi Mittawa, a Medical Assistant by training, who also happened to be the
President’s niece, on the side of President’s late wife, Madam Ethel Mutharika. The
personal nurse served both the President and State House staff and was based at the
State House clinic. Both the physician and the nurse were the President’s personal
choices.
On the composition of the medical team available to the President, the Commission
heard in evidence that the former President of the Republic ofMalawi, Dr. BakiliMuluzi
had the service of a personal physician and an anesthetist. This was also the case with
the other former President, the late Ngwazi Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda.
It was in evidence during the Inquiry that the late President had adequate medical
equipment to cater for any eventuality of a medical emergency.20 This equipment did not
belong to the Government as it was personally bought by the President in Germany
9
19Testimony of Dr. Dan Namarika
20.List of Medical Equipment for the President as supplied to the Commission by his physician Dr. Dan Namarika,Annex
13.
during one of his visits to that country. The personal physician explained to the
Commission that he personally guided the President on what to buy, and the President
paid for it with his own money. This equipment was always in the custody of the
President’s personal physician, and he took it with him everywhere he went with the
President.
The Commission heard that a week prior to the death of the President, the President’s
physician had conducted a thorough medical check upon the President and had
presented the results to him on Tuesday 3rd April 2012, two days before his collapse.
It was submitted in evidence that the results of the medical check-up were satisfactory
and the physician and the President were both happy with them. According to the
personal physician, the results were not a surprise to him because such had always been
the trend. He told the Commission that the President was a fit and healthy person. This
position was also supported by other testimonies that the Commission heard from those
that closely worked with the President.21 However, according to the personal physician,
the President was hypertensive and diabetic. These conditions were ably managed in his
daily routine.
2.2 EVENTS AT STATE HOUSE ON THE 5th OFAPRIL 2012
The Commission received testimony that the day started normally. The late President
had breakfast as usual.22 The Presidential Food Taster, Mr. Harrison Mackenzie
Nkhoma, told the Commission that on that morning he, as usual, tasted the President’s
breakfast to ensure that it did not contain harmful substances. He confirmed the food to
be fine and it was served for breakfast. He also told the Commission that the President
was very busy that day and did not take tea morning tea at the office as he usually did.
The State House housekeeper, Mrs. Elizabeth Mvinda, told the Commission that
she met the President and the First Lady around 9 o’clock in the morning as they were
having breakfast. She had joined them as usual at the table to discuss the programme
for the day. In accordance with the daily routine, the housekeeper was given the tasks
for the day during this meeting. On this particular day, the President indicated to the
housekeeper that he was not going to take tea around the usual time that he did which
was around 10 o’clock in the morning. The housekeeper told the Commission that at that
time, the President looked fine and his normal self, and there seemed to be no problem
at all with him.
After breakfast, the President was led to his office by his close protection security
officer a Mr. Francisco Gideon. As usual, Mr. Gideon carried the late President’s
briefcase and office keys. Upon arrival in the office, Mr. Gideon opened the windows
and took leave of the President. He then proceeded to his normal position near the lift
close to the door leading into the President’s office.
After the President had arrived in his office, his personal secretary, Mrs. Flora
Muhara, went into the office around just after 9 o’clock to greet the President as a usual
10
21. Testimonyof the Former ADC, Major Cyprian Kondowe, and testimony of former Guard COmmander, Mr. Duncan
Mwapasa.
22.Testimony of Francisco Gideon, Harrison Mackenzie Nkhoma, and Elizabeth Mvinda.
courtesy, and also to give him some letters to sign, but she was not able to do so as she
retreated because the President was on the phone.
That morning, the President spoke on the phone to several Government officials
before attending to his appointments. He spoke with the State House Press Officer,Mr.
AlbertMungomo, around 8 am. The President instructedMr.Mungomo to put members
of the media on alert because he wanted to deliver an Easter message to the nation in
the afternoon. He also spoke on the phone with the Deputy Chief Secretary,Mr. Necton
Mhura, who had called him to find out about the status of his request for approval to go
outside the country for medical treatment. The President gave his approval.
The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Peter Mukhito, also told the Commission that
he too spoke on the phone to the President while the President was in the office that
morning. It was the President who called him concerning the issue of security of
property at the Presidential Villas in Lilongwe.
The President also spoke to the Director of National Intelligence Services, Mr.
Bintony Kutsaira, around 9:30 that morning.Mr. Kutsaira told the Commission that the
President sounded jovial. The President gave him certain assignments to do in Blantyre.
The President’s Advisor on Religious Affairs, Rev. Billy Gama, also talked to the
President the same morning before 10 o’clock. Their discussion centered on the
statement that Rev. Gama had drafted for the President for the Easter address to the
nation. The message was meant to be aired out to the Malawi nation the following day
on Good Friday. They also discussed where the President was planning to go and pray
the following day being Good Friday.
2.2.1 The President’s Appointments for the Day
The President had a schedule of eight appointments on this particular day.23 He had
four appointments in the morning and four in the afternoon. His morning appointments
were as follows:
• 10:00 – Hon. Mrs. Patricia Kaliati, MP, Minister of Information and Civic
Education.
• 10:30 – Hon. Mrs. Margaret Roka Mauwa MP, Deputy Minister of
Agriculture, Irrigation andWater Development.
• 11:00 – Hon. Mrs. Agnes Penemulungu, MP for Lilongwe City South East.
• 12:00 – Hon. Dr. Jean Kalirani, MP, Minister of Health
His appointments in the afternoon were due to start at 3 o’clock and were as follows:
• 3:00 – Dr. Bruce Munthali, Chief Executive Officer of Tobacco Control
Commission.
• 3:30 – Mr. Bright Mangulama, formerly Director of Public Procurement
but was retired at the time.
11
23. Evidence of Former ADC, Major Cyprian Kondowe.
• 4:00 – Dr. Zikhale Ng’oma, Democratic Progressive Party Campaign
Director.
• 4:30 – Mr. Chikumbutso Mtumodzi from Ministry of Disability.
Around 10:00 o’clock that morning, Hon. Patricia Kaliati arrived as expected for her
appointment. The Presidential aide de camp (ADC), Major Cyprian Kondowe,
informed the President that the Minister had arrived and was waiting for her
appointment. The President told the ADC to lead her to the audience room. The ADC
led the Hon. Minister to the audience room, and then proceeded to fetch the President
from his office.After the President and theMinister greeted each other, theADC left the
room.After some 30 minutes, Hon. Kaliati was through with her audience and she came
out and left.
TheADC then went again into the President’s office and informed the President that
Hon. Roka Mauwa was also in for her appointment. The same process was followed.
The Hon. Minister met the President at the allocated time and left.
2.2.2 Appointment With Hon. Mrs. Agnes Penemulungu, MP.
Hon.Mrs.Agnes Penemulungu,MP, testified to the Commission that on the previous
day, 4th April 2012, she received a call from the ADC advising her that the President
had granted her request for an appointment to meet him. She was advised that she was
to meet the President the following day, 5th April 2012, at 11 o’clock in the morning.
She however explained to the ADC that the day was not convenient to her because she
was scheduled to go to the Kamuzu International Airport to receive the body of her
uncle who had passed away in SouthAfrica. She told theADC that the body was going
to come through the airport aboard a South African Airways at around 12:30 in the
afternoon. The ADC advised her to consider adjusting her programme to the airport
bearing in mind that she had waited for a long time for her appointment to be granted.
He advised her not lose that chance. Accordingly, she adjusted her airport programme
to accommodate her appointment with the President.
On the day in question, 5thApril 2012, Hon. Penemulungu proceeded to State House
and arrived at around 10:30 in the morning. She was searched at the entrance and was
advised to leave the discussion notes that she had prepared on a piece of paper at the
reception. She was ushered to the waiting room. The notes were later handed back to
her as she was in the waiting room.
It was Hon. Penemulungu’s recollection that around 11am, the ADC came to the
waiting room and advised her that she was to wait a little longer because the President
was yet to conclude the appointment before her. She recalled that it was around 11:11
am, when theADC came to take her to the audience room. Since this was the first time
for her to meet the President at State House, the ADC advised her of the courtesy to
stand up as the President will be entering the room.
Once Hon. Penemulungu was in the audience room, theADC proceeded to bring the
President.When the President walked into the audience room, Hon. Penemulungu stood
up as advised and the President greeted her in Chichewa, “Muli bwanji a Nandau?” She
12
responded to the greeting also in Chichewa, “Ndiri bwino Bwana”. She explained to the
Commission that the name Nandau is what she is popularly known by in political circles
as well as in Parliament. After the greeting, the President sat down and she also sat
down. The ADC then left the room.
During the audience with the President, which was in Chichewa, Hon. Penemulungu
started by thanking the President for giving her the appointment. In her own words she
said to the President as follows:
“Zikomo kwambiri Bwana. Ndathokoza kuti mwandipatsa
appointment yanga patapita nthawi yayitali. Ndikudziwa kuti tilipo
ma MP ambiri koma mwandivomera ine. Ndathokoza kwambiri.
Chinanso ndithokoze Bwana kuti ine ndinawina ku Lilongwe City
South East chifukwa cha pambuyo pa inu. Munandithandiza
misonkhano. Munabwera. Ndikukuthokozani kwambiri Bwana.
Ndikukuthokozaninso Bwana pa malonjezo amene ine ndinapatsa
anthu anga. Lonjezo limodzi munandithandiza mseu munandiyikira
tala. Ndiye Bwana ndikukuthokozani kwambiri. Pamene
ndimalankhula choncho anali akugwedeza mutu akuvomera”.
[Thank you very muchYour Excellency Sir. I am very grateful that
you granted me this appointment after some time. I know that there are
many of us MPs who would like to come and see you. But it has
pleasedYour Excellency to grant me this appointment. Thank you very
much Your Excellency. I also want to thank Your Excellency that I
won in my constituency, Lilongwe City South East, because of your
support.You supported me during my campaign meetings. Thank you
very much Your Excellency. I also thank you Sir for supporting me in
the promises that I made to the people of my constituency. One of the
pledges on which you have helped me was the construction of a tarmac
road in my constituency. Thank you very much Sir.As I was speaking
the President was nodding in appreciation].
She went on and thanked the President for constantly helping her constituency in
many ways.
After thanking the President, she informed him that there were still so many
challenges that her constituency was facing. She advised the President that her
constituency did not have a clinic and requested if consideration could be given to have
a clinic in the area. At this point, the President asked Hon. Penemulungu where the
nearest clinic was and how far it was. Her response was that the nearest clinic was in
Kawale which is about 10 to 15 kilometers from her constituency. She further advised
the President about the road in her constituency that goes to T/ATsabango and asked if
that road could be upgraded to tarmac. She also asked the President to consider looking
into another road from Area 23 Market to Chipasula.
2.2.3 The President’s Collapse.
The Commission heard that barely 10 minutes into the appointment with Hon.Mrs.
Penemulungu, as she was looking at her prepared notes which she had in her hands at
the time, she noticed when she looked up that the President was just sitting still,
13
motionless. His hands and legs were stretched straight and the head was leaning against
the backrest of the chair in which he sat. (She gave a graphic demonstration to the
Commission of the President’s posture at that time.) Upon noticing that, she called out
“Bwana Bwana!”, but there was no response. She then called again “Bwana!” but still
there was no response. Quoting her own words, she said:
“Bwana, Bwana! Ndikuona kuti sakundiyankha. Bwana!
Ndinakuwa tsopano, sakundiyankha. Ndiye ndinayimirira
kuthamangira kumene ndatulukira ku chitseko cha ADC.
Ndinathamanga kukamuyitana ADC, bwera udzawone kuno Bwana
sakundiyankha. Ndimalankhulana nawo. Ndiye ADC analowa mwa
msanga msanga anawapeza abwanawo ali choncho ndithu.”
[Your Excellency, Your Excellency, I could see that he was not
responding. Your Excellency! I now raised my voice, still he was not
responding. So I stood up and ran towards the door I came through
with theADC. I rushed and called theADC in. I said come in and see,
His Excellency is not responding to me. I was talking to him. TheADC
rushed in very quickly and found His Excellency still in the same
posture.]
She told the Commission that she was very terrified.
As he was going to the audience room, theADC asked Mr. Benfrey Kamanga, one
of the NIS security detail sitting with him, to accompany him into the audience room.
At the same time, theADC called the President’s personal physician, Dr. Dan Namarika,
who was in his office in the State House at that time. The Presidential Guard
Commander, Mr. Duncan Mwapasa, the most senior security officer at State House,
was also called.
2.2.4 Immediate Response to the Collapse of the President.
When the ADC, Mr. Kondowe went into the audience room in the company of Mr.
Kamanga, they found that the President was seated in the chair and was breathing with
difficulties. He was not blinking. The ADC tried to talk to the President but got no
response. He touched his head and called “Your Excellency, Your Excellency”, but he
stayed still and did not respond. He was breathing heavily and was facing forward,
upwards, without looking at a particular person, even if you looked straight at him. It
showed that he was not paying any attention to anything being said to him. He was
unconscious.
Upon realizing the gravity of situation, the ADC and Mr. Kamanga carried the
President to his office where they laid him on the carpet and loosened his jacket and
removed his wrist watch and took off his shoes. At that time, the President was still
breathing with difficulties. In no time, the President’s personal physician, Dr. Dan
Namarika, arrived in the room. He noted upon arrival that the President was struggling
to breathe. He tried to call him but there was no response. He checked his pulse and
armpits and also checked his blood pressure.
Dr. Dan Namarika told the Commission that at that time he did not have with him
the presidential emergency medical kit. He told the Commission that he had left it in the
ambulance and he tried to call for the ambulance. Dr. Namarika further told the
14
Commission that he called the Director General of State Residences, Mr. Edward
Sawerengera, advising him that the President had collapsed and he immediately needed
an ambulance to take the President to hospital.
From several testimonies, the Commission learnt that Dr. Namarika had actually
left his equipment at his house within the State House compound. Seeing the emergency
of the situation he advisedMr. Kondowe,Mr. Kamanga andMr.Mwapasa, who by then
were together in the President’s office, to quickly rush the President downstairs to take
him to hospital.
After giving the instruction to rush the President to hospital, Dr. Namarika left the
late President unattended and proceeded downstairs to the office of the Director General
of State Residences.
It is in the testimony received by the Commission that while downstairs, Dr.
Namarika burst into the office of the Director General, who at the time was in a meeting
with the Deputy Director General, Dr. Charles Thupi, shouting in panic that he needed
an ambulance. After passing the message Dr. Namarika rushed out of the office and
fortunately he met one of the Presidential convoy drivers, Mr. Aaron Matabwa. He
instructed him to rush and quickly get the ambulance and bring it to the front of the
building. After giving that instruction, Dr. Namarika jumped into the Deputy Director
General’s car and asked the driver, Mr. Yesaya Khuze, to drive him to his house to pick
his medical equipment.
On the way to his house, Dr. Namarika met with the President’s personal nurse,Mrs.
Thenjiwe Dissi Mittawa, at one of the gates to State House. Dr. Namarika advised her
that the President had collapsed. The nurse accordingly rushed to the entrance of the
State House where she met the ADC, the Guard Commander, and Mr. Kamanga who
had got downstairs through the lift carrying the President. It is in evidence that at this
point the President’s nurse took the President’s blood pressure which read 102/57, his
pulse rate was 74 and blood sugar was 14.3.
2.2.5 Referral to Kamuzu Central Hospital
It is in evidence that when the President was brought downstairs he was briefly kept
in the lift as they were waiting for the arrival of the ambulance. When the ambulance
arrived, the President was immediately taken into the ambulance that had been parked
directly by the entrance of the State House. The ambulance was a black Toyota Land
Cruiser registration numberMG944AB.At this moment Dr. Namarika had just returned
from his house and he jumped into the ambulance which then started off for Kamuzu
Central Hospital.
In the ambulance were the ADC, Dr. Namarika and Mrs. Thenjiwe Dissi Mittawa.
Then another vehicle carried the Presidential Guard Commander, Mr. Mwapasa, the
Director General of State Residences, Mr. Sawerengera, and Mr. Benfrey Kamanga.
The Commission heard in evidence that at the time that the President was being carried
into the ambulance, he was gasping for breath and groaning deeply. The two vehicles
started off at the same time.
15
The Commission was informed that while on the way to the hospital, the personal
physician was trying to secure the airway to ensure that the President was breathing
and that there was circulation (the medical procedure called ABC). He was however
not able to complete the process.
The Commission was informed that about November 2011, Dr. Namarika was
involved in a road accident on his way to Ndata Farm House, the President’s private
residence in Thyolo. Following the accident, Dr. Namarika suffered a dislocation of his
left arm and was undergoing physiotherapy at the time of the President’s collapse. Dr.
Namarika told the Commission that he could not effectively use his left arm because it
had very limited movement. The Commission established that the doctor could not
successfully secure the airway at the time of the President’s collapse because for him
to do that he had to intubate the President. He could not intubate the President because
to do that, he had to elevate the President to get the path to the neck. The doctor could
not manage to do that because of the limitation that he had in the use of his arm and that,
in his own words, “the President was so big”. This was coupled with the fact that he did
not have the intubation kit at the time that he had proceeded to check the situation in the
President’s office after receiving a call from theADC. The doctor told the Commission
that he therefore only resorted to mouth to mouth resuscitation while in transit to the
hospital. An attempt was made to put an intravenous line (IV line), a drip as it is
commonly known, on the President but this was not possible. They only managed to
insert a canula but no IV line was mounted.
The Commission was informed that while in transit, attempts were made to call
Kamuzu Central Hospital on its numbers 01754725 and 01756900 so that the hospital
could prepare to receive the President as a patient. But the calls could not get through.
Dr. Namarika told the Commission that out of the 10 switchboard numbers only those
two numbers were working. He explained that the Hospital Director of KCH, Dr.
Noordeen Alide, was not informed about the emergency because Dr. Namarika did not
have his number readily.Apart from that Dr. Namarika noted that the Hospital Director
in that capacity was an administrator and it was going to be necessary to call him after
stabilization of the patient. The hospital was therefore not warned or made aware that
the President was being rushed to the hospital.
The Commission was informed that in the accompanying vehicle to the hospital,
the Presidential Guard Commander made calls to the Inspector General of Police, Mr.
Peter Mukhito, and to the Director of National Intelligence Service, Mr. Bintony
Kutsaira, advising them on the developments. The Director General of State Residences
made calls to Hon. PeterMutharika. He also called the First Lady, who at the time was
in her office within the State House attending to her morning appointments.
According to the testimony, the drive to the hospital took approximately 15 to 20
minutes.
2.2.6 Arrival and Reception at Kamuzu Central Hospital
Upon arrival at Kamuzu Central Hospital, the ambulance went straight to the
casualty section and parked at the car park adjacent to the entrance of the Casualty
16
Department. The ADC and the Presidential Guard Commander rushed to the intensive
care unit (ICU) where they met an anesthetist, Mrs. Stella Warren, and asked for help.
Upon hearing of the emergency involving the State President,Mrs.Warren immediately
rushed out and went into the ambulance that was waiting outside. She told the
Commission that as she was rushing there she met Dr. Isyu Mwakasungula of the
Casualty Department, who had also been alerted about the situation and was looking for
a trolley on which to take the President into the ICU.When a trolley was identified, the
ambulance was beckoned to reverse to the entrance of the casualty section. It reversed
and the medical staff carried the President onto the trolley.
Mrs. Stella Warren testified to the Commission that at the time she went into the
ambulance where the President was, she noticed that “the President was dead”. Dr.
Isyu Mwakasungula also testified that at the time that they were carrying the President
onto the trolley, he was motionless and there was no response of any sort from him. His
eyes were closed. In Dr. Mwakasungula’s opinion it gave the impression that the
President was critically ill or unconscious or was dead.
2.2.7 Admission and Treatment in the ICU
After the President was hoisted onto the trolley, he was taken straight into the ICU.
He was laid on bed Number 1. The bed was vacant at the time because the patient who
was there before had been discharged earlier that morning. The ICU records indicate that
the President was admitted in the ICU at 11:30 am. At the time of the President’s
admission there were also other beds which were vacant in the ICU. The Commission
established that some statements that had been made in some quarters to the effect that
some patients were moved out of the ICU to make room for the President were not true.
The medical personnel who received the President in the ICU observed that the
President was unresponsive as they were bringing him in the ICU. His pupils were fixed
and dilated. This was confirmed on the ICU records presented to the Commission. On
the records, the Glasgow Comma Scale (GCS) was recorded as 3 out of 15, meaning that
there was no eye response, no verbal response and no movement. The Commission
was informed that, medically, this is the lowest a patient can get to on that scale. The
chances were that the President had already died.
After placing the President on the bed Mr. William Banda, an anesthetist, took an
intubation kit and started intubating the President. In his own evidence, Mr. Banda
explained that the process of intubation is a difficult one. It is very painful to the patient
and he stated that, even in the case of a person who is unconscious, it is usually a
difficult process because such people do react. This renders it a rather difficult medical
procedure to administer. Mr. William Banda testified that in this case, however, there
was no problem at all when he was intubating the President. There was no reaction
whatsoever and the tube just went in without any problems as there was no response
from the President. To Mr. Banda, this was a sign of no life.
After the President was intubated, he was also ventilated through an ambubag and
then connected to an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine. It was noted that the ECG
reading produced a straight line, which in medical terms is referred to as “asystole”. A
17
straight line is usually a sign of no life.Acentral line was also inserted and the medical
personnel started giving the President adrenaline and other drugs. However the
Commission received testimony that some essential emergency drugs were not
immediately available in the ICU such that some ICU staff were assigned to look for
those drugs elsewhere within or outside the hospital. A catheter was also inserted in a
bid to collect urine samples. However there was no urine output, which was another
sign of no life.
After this preliminary process, the ICU team started cardiopulmonary resuscitation
(CPR) on the President. The process was being supervised by the President’s personal
physician, Dr. Dan Namarika. He could not himself take part in the process because of
the limitations in the use of his arms as has been explained.
It was heard in evidence that due to the compressions during the CPR, there were
some readings on the ECG monitor. These were however disappearing at each interval
and the ICU team concluded that such readings were CPR dependent.After doing CPR
continuously for about 30 minutes, it was the view of the ICU staff that the President
was dead and that they should abandon the procedure. However, the President’s personal
physician, Dr. Dan Namarika, advised that the CPR should continue.
During the CPR procedure defibrillators were also brought in to try and shock the
President to induce heartbeat. These were tried on the President up to the maximum
level for four times but there was still no response. After carrying on with the CPR for
another 30 minutes, the staff in the ICU got tired. The President’s physician was asked
if they could stop the CPR but he refused and insisted that it goes on. As the CPR
continued, it was noted after an hour that they had broken some ribs on the President in
the process. Dr. Carlos Valera, a specialist surgeon, placed chest drains on the left and
right side of the President’s body. This had a negative effect on what would have been
the intended effectiveness of the resuscitation. The CPR however continued on the
instructions of Dr. Namarika.
In his testimony, the Hospital Director, Dr. Noordeen Alide, explained that he
received news about the late President’s illness and admission at Kamuzu Central
Hospital from Mr. Albert Khuwi, a Pharmacist at KCH. He therefore rushed to the
hospital and arrived there just after 11:30 am and went straight to the ICU. Having seen
the frantic efforts to resuscitate the President, he made an impression of the situation.
In his words, he was of the view that the President was dead. He also inquired from Dr.
Varela, the Head of Surgical Department, who confirmed to him that people should just
accept that the President was dead. Dr. Alide informed the Commission that he
proceeded to the room beside the ICU with a view to advise the Chief Secretary, Mr.
Bright Msaka, SC, who was already there, of the position.
Dr.Alide informed the Commission that before he could talk to the Chief Secretary,
the President’s brother, Hon. Peter Mutharika, who was also in the room, stood up. Dr.
Alide introduced himself and then advised Hon. Peter Mutharika that the situation was
hopeless and that they should start planning for the next stage. He further advised Hon.
Mutharika andMr.Msaka, that they will hear officially from Dr. Namarika.After taking
leave of them, Dr. Alide advised Dr. Namarika to proceed to inform the family on the
18
matter. It is in the evidence of Dr. Alide that Dr. Namarika reluctantly proceeded to
inform Hon. Peter Mutharika. It is on record that Hon. Mutharika responded by saying
that they should still continue with the resuscitation efforts since the CPR procedure
could be continued for up to three hours according to some medical literature that he had
come across.
Dr. Alide told the Commission that he further observed that there was no senior
official from the Ministry of Health present at the hospital at the time. He therefore
called the Principal Secretary for Health Dr. CharlesMwansambo, who was at that time
in Zomba, and advised him about the situation. He informed the Commission that after
a while, the other Principal Secretary for Health at the time, Mr. Willie Samute, came
to the hospital and then later the Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Jean Kalirani, also came.
Dr. Alide briefed Hon. Dr. Kalirani and Mr. Samute about the hopelessness of the
situation. He advised that there was need to call Dr. Wesley Sangala, the most senior
anesthetist specialist, to come and assess the situation and give the way forward because
the anesthetists who were in the ICU were all at the level of clinical officers. Dr. Alide
was given the go ahead by the Minister and Mr. Samute to contact Dr. Sangala.
It was the evidence of Dr.Wesley Sangala that he received a call from Dr.Alide, the
Hospital Director, advising him of the development. Upon hearing the news, Dr. Sangala
immediately rushed to the hospital. When he arrived in the ICU he found that the
monitors were flicking because of the compression during the CPR, and noted that two
chest drains were inserted on both sides of the President’s body. He touched the
President and his body was cold. He immediately ordered that CPR be stopped, and
then he checked on the ECG. He noted that there was nothing on the ECG monitor. In
his view, the President was dead. This was around 1:50 pm.
After Dr. Sangala reached that conclusion, it is in evidence that a team of four
doctors at the hospital, namely, Dr. Sangala, Dr. Alide, Dr. Varela and Dr. Namarika
proceeded to Dr. Alide’s office where senior Government and other officials had
relocated to from the room beside the ICU. There were three senior Government
officials in the office. These were Hon. Peter Mutharika, Hon. Goodall Gondwe and
the Chief Secretary, Mr. Bright Msaka, SC.
It was the evidence of Dr. Sangala, Dr. Varela and Dr. Alide that the team told the
three officials that the President had passed away. The doctors told the Commission that
this communication was in words or language that could not have been understood in
any other way than to convey the message that the President had died. Dr. Sangala told
the Commission that he and the other doctors noted that after this communication, the
room was dead silent.
The Commission was told that it was at this point that the late President’s brother,
Hon. Peter Mutharika, began talking about the issue of the postmortem examination of
the President. Dr. Sangala vividly recalled that Hon. PeterMutharika actually mentioned
the word “autopsy” in the discussions. The issue was discussed in the office and the
Hospital Director made calls to Dr. Steve Kamiza, a pathologist in Blantyre, who did
not pick his call. He then called Dr. Charles Dzamalala, another pathologist in Blantyre,
who picked his call but quickly told Dr. Alide that he would call back. He did not call
back.
19
Back in the ICU, it was agreed on instructions from Dr. Sangala that the body of the
President be moved to the side room. This was done. In the side room, the body was
covered in linen and a ventilator remained connected to give the semblance that they
were still doing something to the President as patient. It was then decided that family
members be called in to view the body of the President.
It is in the testimony before the Commission that the first to proceed and view the
body was the First Lady,Madam CallistaMutharika. She went into the side room, stood
for a few seconds and came out. Then came the President’s daughter, Mrs. Duwa
Mutharika-Mubaira, who was accompanied by a certain lady, probably a security officer.
She went in and stood at the door of the side room and started crying. She was then led
out. The third person to come was Hon. Peter Mutharika. He came in and then left the
room. The last person to come into the room was Father Taylor, a Catholic priest.
Father Taylor told the Commission that he was visiting the hospital that Thursday.
In the afternoon, he heard that the President had been taken ill and was admitted in the
ICU. He proceeded to the ICU where he met the First Lady. He asked her if he could
be allowed to go and see the President. He was told to wait for a few minutes. He was
then allowed to go in and see him in the side room. He touched the body and observed
that it was cold. He then said his prayer which was responded to in Catholic tradition
byMrs. StellaWarren who was attending to the body and is a Catholic. To Father Taylor,
he gave the last anointing prayer.
In her evidence Mrs. Stella Warren told the Commission that in the ICU, there is a
form on which the ICU staff record all readings that patients generate. She took the
form and started writing the name of the President and recorded all the readings on the
machine and indicating that there was no response. She was however restrained by the
In Charge of ICU, Mr. Clement Kadyaudzu, who told her to write that everything was
fine as per instructions from Dr. Namarika.
Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba submitted in evidence that he proceeded to the hospital when
he heard that the President had been taken ill. Upon reaching hospital, he went straight
to the ICU where he found theMinister of Health, Hon. Dr. Jean Kalirani. He found her
escorting the First Lady,Madam CallistaMutharika, to the side room in the ICU where
the President was. When the First Lady and Hon. Dr. Kalirani came out of the side
room, he noted that the First Lady was very distressed and was in tears. Dr. Ntaba told
the Commission that he and Dr. Kalirani left the ICU together and headed for the
Hospital Director’s office. On the way, Hon. Dr. Kalirani briefed him that the President’s
state was hopeless. She further told him that it was doubtful if the resuscitation efforts
going on would bear any results.
When the two went into the Hospital Director’s office, they found Hon. Peter
Mutharika, Hon. Goodall Gondwe and the Chief Secretary,Mr. BrightMsaka, SC. Hon.
Dr. Kalirani briefed the group that the resuscitation efforts were still underway but there
were doubts if they were going to achieve any results. She further noted to the group that
even in the event that the resuscitation efforts succeeded, the President would not be the
same person as he will be reduced to a vegetable.As they were discussing, Dr. Namarika
came into the office and reported that the air ambulance team, which had earlier been
20
contacted by the Chief Secretary, was asking about the condition of the President with
a view of finding out whether the patient would be in a stable condition to make the trip.
He went on to say that since the President has failed to respond to the resuscitation
efforts for some time, the air ambulance team would not come if he told them that the
President was ‘no more’. It is in Dr. Ntaba’s evidence that the Chief Secretary told Dr.
Namarika to advise the air ambulance crew that they were still trying to resuscitate the
President because it was still very important that the air ambulance crew should come.
It was in the evidence of Mr. Willie Samute that he received a call from his fellow
Principal Secretary, Dr. Charles Mwansambo, about the President’s illness and
admission at Kamuzu Central Hospital. Upon hearing the news he rushed to the hospital.
At the hospital he first met with the Hospital Director, Dr. Alide, and the Director of
Clinical Services at the Ministry of Health headquarters, Dr. Chithope Mwale. They
proceeded to the Hospital Director’s office where they were joined by the Hospital
Matron. He was given a quick brief about the situation. He was advised that the situation
was very critical.
Mr. Samute told the Commission that as he, Dr.Alide, Dr. Chithope and theMatron
were there in the office, the Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Jean Kalirani, appeared. She
was briefed about the situation. She then proceeded to the ICU. Mr. Samute submitted
that after some 30 minutes the Minister came back from the ICU and told him that the
doctors were still trying but the situation was hopeless. She even went further and stated
that if it was an ordinary person “we would have said kuti talephera [that we have
failed] but this is HE”. She then further asked everybody to leave the hospital because
their presence was attracting attention.
Mr. Samute was then requested to handle the high profile people who were lingering
in the corridor at the ICU. He led these high profile people, who included the Chief
Secretary, to the Hospital Director’s office. They were joined at the office by Hon.
Goodall Gondwe, Hon. Peter Mutharika and later by others.
It was further Mr. Samute’s evidence that before the high profile people left the
hospital, they had a caucus in the Hospital Director’s office.Mr. Samute confirmed that
at some point, the doctors, including Dr. Sangala, went to meet the high profile people
in the Director’s office. He stated that as Dr. Sangala was going to see the Ministers
and the Chief Secretary in the Director’s office, he told him that “sizili bwino” [things
are not well].
It was Mr. Samute’s evidence that his first impression, after Dr. Alide had briefed
him as he was arriving at the hospital, was that it was very clear that the President had
died. He stated that in our Malawian culture he got the sense that it was very clear that
the President had died. He explained to the Commission that he left the hospital around
3 pm and went home. He returned to the hospital later in the day and remained there until
the ambulance had left for Kamuzu International Airport in the evening.
According to the evidence of Hon. Dr. Jean Kalirani, she had an appointment for
audience with the President on that day. Her appointment was at 11:30 am, after the
President’s appointment with Hon.Agnes Penemulungu.While at State House waiting
21
for her turn, she noted a delay in being ushered into the room for audience with the
President, but had not been informed about the incident of the President’s collapse. She
was later advised that the appointment was cancelled.
Hon. Dr. Kalirani informed the Commission that she was later duly informed as
Minister of Health that the President had been taken ill and was admitted at Kamuzu
Central Hospital. She went to the hospital where she found the President’s situation to
be indeed critical. In her few words to the Commission she explained that she was not
aware that the President had died. She only knew about the death of the President when
it was officially announced on MBC radio on 7th April, 2012.
It is worth noting, however, that it was Mr. Samute’s evidence that on the evening
of 5th ofApril, he and Dr. Mwansambo went to Hon. Dr. Jean Kalirani’s house to meet
her over the day’s events in her capacity as Minister of Health. At the house, they
reviewed what had happened on the day and discussed the state of the President. It was
very clear in their discussions that the President had died. Mr. Samute told the
Commission that what was discussed at the meeting was simply to do with death
logistics such as confirmation of death, whether it was done or not, and the date of
death. At the meeting, Hon. Dr. Kalirani asked the Principal Secretaries to ask our
Malawian Pathologist, Prof. George Liomba, to travel to South Africa for duties in
relation to the President’s postmortem examination.
The Commission heard evidence that Dr. Liomba was also the preferred choice of
a pathologist by the President’s close family members.
2.2.8 Arrival of Air Ambulance Doctors and Preparations for Departure
The Commission has it in testimony that around 7 pm, the doctor and nurse from
SouthAfrica who came with the air ambulance arrived at Kamuzu Central Hospital and
went to the ICU. They were collected from the airport in a State House vehicle. They
entered the side room where the President’s body was kept. Dr. Namarika gave the two
handovers as the nurse was busy connecting their own machines to test the ‘patient’. The
two were talking in their language, probablyAfrikaans. In the course of monitoring the
machines, the visiting nurse told the doctor “asystole”, meaning no life. The doctor
then immediately asked Dr. Namarika whether the family members knew about the
death of the President to which he replied that the family was aware. The doctor then
asked Dr. Namarika whether the public knew about it to which Dr. Namarika answered
that the public did not know. Then the doctor further asked Dr. Namarika as to why the
body of the President was still connected to the ventilator. Was it pretence that there
was still life? Dr. Namarika replied confirming that it was the case.
At this point, the air ambulance nurse began disconnecting their machines and the
ventilator. The air ambulance doctor asked about the chest drains and an explanation was
given about the broken ribs. They further asked about the distended abdomen and an
explanation was given that they had earlier on inserted a naso-gastric tube (NGT) but
nothing was coming out. The air ambulance doctor gave directions to have the same
procedure tried again. Mrs. Stella Warren and Mr. Clement Kadyaudzu repeated the
procedure but still with no results. The doctor then advised them to stop.
22
At this point, according to the testimony of Mrs. Stella Warren, the body of the
President began to bleed from nose and mouth. The South African medical personnel
got worried since they did not want their linen to be stained in blood.Accordingly,Mrs.
Stella Warren got some gauze and packed it in both nostrils. This did not work. More
gauze was used to cover the nostrils, and a diaper was used to cover the mouth and then
she tied it with linen. As they were working on the body turning it upside down, the
bleeding started again and Mrs. Stella Warren made sure that she cleaned and dressed
the body accordingly in readiness for evacuation to South Africa. It is in evidence that
at this stage the body was being handled as a dead body. The body was then moved from
the side room onto the trolley ready for departure to Kamuzu International Airport.
2.2.9 Departure for the Airport
The news about the illness of the President had fairly spread. A lot of people
including media reporters had gathered at the hospital. The State House ambulance that
was intended to carry the body of the President was parked at the basement exit, facing
the mortuary. There were people all over the place.
In a bid to maintain security when taking the body to the airport, the security detail
headed by the Guard Commander devised a plan. They called for an ordinary ambulance
from State House and gave instructions that it should proceed and park at the Ethel
Mutharika Maternity Wing. This instruction was executed and a white Toyota Land
Cruiser ambulance, registration number MG955AB, came to the hospital and was
parked at the entrance of Ethel Mutharika Maternity Wing. The body of the President
was wheeled on the trolley to the exit of the Ethel Mutharika Maternity Wing. It was
hoisted into the ambulance and they started off for the airport. In the ambulance, there
were the two air ambulance medical personnel from South Africa, Dr. Namarika, and
two other medical personnel from KCH, namely, Mr. Bonny Lungu, an orthopedic
technician, and Mrs. StellaWarren, an anesthetist.
As the ambulance was about to arrive at the airport, the air ambulance doctor
disclosed to the medical team in the ambulance that they were not taking the body to
SouthAfrica. He explained that they had initially thought that they were taking a patient,
which was not the case at the time.
2.2.10 Events at Kamuzu International Airport
The Commission received evidence that as the ambulance was on its way to the
airport, the Guard Commander issued instructions to the Airport Commandant, Mr.
Steven Mkandawire, advising him and all his staff to vacate the apron where the air
ambulance had parked. He advised him that only staff from State House should be
present.Afurther call was also made to the Officer-in-Charge,Airport Police,Mr. Davis
Mulepa, with a similar message. All airport members of staff, including Airport Police
and the Officer-in-Charge, Immigration, Mr. Hudson Mankhwala, and all his staff,
vacated the apron area and retreated to their offices.
The ambulance carrying the body of the President arrived at the airport around 9 pm.
There were some Cabinet Ministers and Government officials at the airport. The
23
ambulance proceeded into the airport through the technical gate, and not through the VIP
section, and drove straight to the apron where the air ambulance was parked. The body
was taken into the air ambulance. The First Lady, Madam Callista Mutharika, Dr.
Namarika and the President’s daughter, Mrs. Duwa Mutharika – Mubaira went into the
air ambulance as well, ready to take off.
Some few minutes after boarding, the captain of the air ambulance alighted and
headed towards the main terminal building of the airport. It was learnt that the pilots
were refusing to fly because they did not have clearance to fly a dead person. They
explained that they could not fly under those circumstances until they were given
clearance. They demanded that the body be taken back into the motor vehicle ambulance
on the ground. The air ambulance medical personnel also demanded their linen back.
The medical personnel from KCH had to plead with them as there was no other linen
around, meaning that the body would remain uncovered without that linen.At this point,
the First Lady, Dr. Namarika andMrs. DuwaMutharika -Mubaira alighted from the air
ambulance and returned to the VIP Lounge where they remained waiting.
Discussions between Malawi and South Africa then ensued. According to the
testimony by Mr. Bintony Kutsaira, the Director of National Intelligence Service, the
intelligence authorities in South Africa called their counterparts in Malawi and made
reference to the earlier request to fly the Malawi President to South Africa. They
indicated that they had news that the President had died and demanded to know why
there was need to fly the body to South Africa. Mr. Kutsaira told the Commission that
following that discussion he talked to the Chief Secretary, Mr. Bright Msaka, SC, to
have clarification on why the body was being taken to South Africa. Mr. Msaka gave
the clarification to Mr. Kutsaira. The matter was then clarified to the intelligence
authorities in SouthAfrican. They were advised that there was need to take the body to
South Africa for postmortem and embalming, and to allow for time for preparation for
burial. Mr. Kutsaira informed the Commission that according to his information,
clearance to fly the body to South Africa was later given by President Jacob Zuma
through the South African Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Kutsaira told the
Commission that few days later, he got the approval of the President, after she had
assumed office, and travelled to South Africa specifically to brief his counterpart
regarding the developments in Malawi during that time.
After the flight was cleared to land in SouthAfrica, another complication arose. The
pilots refused to fly stating that their flying time hours had expired. This caused further
delay. It was heard in evidence that as the medical personnel were trying to take the
body down from the air ambulance, Hon. Peter Mutharika asked them to wait. The
Commission was told that Hon. Peter Mutharika, as Malawi’s Minister of Foreign
Affairs, made calls to his counterpart in South Africa to intervene on the matter. The
ZimbabweAmbassador toMalawi, who was also the Dean of Diplomatic Corps, and the
South African High Commissioner to Malawi were also called to the airport to try and
intervene in the stalemate. These two diplomats came to the airport and proceeded to
where the air ambulance was. As these discussions were going on at the airport, the
Principal Secretary for Health, Dr. CharlesMwansambo, made a call to Kamuzu Central
Hospital asking them to prepare a bed in the ICU for the President since it was not clear
whether the air ambulance was going to depart.
24
Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba testified to the Commission that when this stalemate was
going on he raised with his colleagues there the risk of the matter getting out of hand
in trying to create a media blackout on the state of health of the President and suggested
to the Chief Secretary that it would be better instead to take the body to State House as
that would provide better security in managing the situation. Dr. Ntaba told the
Commission that this proposal was presented to Hon. PeterMutharika and Hon. Goodall
Gondwe who agreed to the proposal. Thus, there was therefore also the consideration
of taking the body to State House.
After lengthy discussions the pilots reluctantly agreed to fly. The First Lady, Dr.
Namarika and Mrs. Duwa Mutharika – Mubaira had to rush to board the air ambulance
this second time. It is in evidence that the air ambulance finally took off around 12
midnight. There was evidence from some airport staff that the pilots took off in an abrupt
manner leaving the people wondering if a patient would survive such take off.
2.2.11 Hospital Records Regarding the Late President at the Kamuzu Central
Hospital
The Commission was furnished with a copy of the late President’s hospital record
at Kamuzu Central Hospital.
Firstly, the Commission noted that the ICU record did not have the name of the
patient. It is impossible without any name to ascribe the report to be the hospital record
for the late President. Secondly, the record showed conflicting dates of admission.While
the first page showed 4th April 2012, the second page showed 5th April 2012. We are
all aware that the President was taken ill and admitted at KCH on the 5th and not the
4th as indicated on the first page of the record. Thirdly, a discussion with the medical
personnel from the ICU disclosed that the second page of the document shows certain
figures as heart rates and blood pressure readings. These readings were disputed by the
hospital staff who indicated that they were misleading because they were taken during
CPR. In actual fact the President was not breathing at all. The readings were CPR
generated.
It was further noted that the Doctor’s notes and the Nurse’s notes were not complete.
All in all, the record has been disowned by the ICU Nurse In Charge, Mrs. Atupele
Mwalwanda Gumbo, who was in charge in the ICU during that time. It was also
disowned by Mrs. StellaWarren who was active during the entire admission of the late
President. The record also shocked the Principal Secretary for Health, Dr. Charles
Mwansambo.
The Commission further noted that the recording of readings and the treatment of
the patient, meant to have been the late President, ended at 3 pm. This shows that the
President was not alive beyond this point because the record would have continued to
show some reading after 3 pm if he was alive beyond that time.
25
2.2.12 State House Press Release On the President’s Illness.
On the evening of 5thApril 2012, State House issued a Press Release regarding the
condition of the President. The press release was aired in the evening news bulletin on
the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation radio and television at 8 o’clock. Among other
things, the press release indicated that the President had been taken ill and had been
flown to South Africa for specialist treatment. It further indicated that all Malawians
were going to be informed about the President’s condition. At the time that this press
release was being aired, the President had long died. The question before the
Commission was who authored the statement?
The State House Press Officer,Mr.AlbertMungomo, told the Commission that State
House press statements normally originated from three sources. There would be press
statements issued by the Democratic Progressive Party, and he would edit and release
them, or they would originate from the Office of the President and Cabinet, and he
would also edit and release them or in some cases the statements would directly
originate from his office. In this case he clarified to the Commission that the statement
came from the OPC through the Chief Secretary, Mr. Bright Msaka, SC. He told the
Commission that he only made one or two changes to the press release to suit the media
taste. Mr. Bright Msaka, SC, however, vehemently denied having authored or dictated
the press release24.
2.3 EVENTS IN SOUTH AFRICA
2.3.1 Hiring of Air Ambulance
The Commission heard that on 5th April 2012, Mr. Edward Sawerengera, Director
General of State Residences, called the High Commissioner of Malawi to the Republic
of South Africa, Her Excellency Mrs. Agrina Mussa. She missed the call. When she
called him back,Mr. Sawerengera advised her that he had already spoken to her deputy,
Mr. Alexious Godiya, and that she should check with him. The phone call that Mr.
Sawerengera had made to Mr. Godiya was to request the Malawi Mission in South
Africa to arrange for an air ambulance to airlift the President from Malawi because he
had been taken ill. Mrs. Mussa told the Commission that this information was also
confirmed by the Chief Secretary whom she had spoken to earlier.
The High Commissioner and her deputy made enquiries about air ambulance
services in South Africa. It is in evidence that the Chief Secretary told the High
Commissioner to contact Net Care Rescue International in South Africa. When they
made the contact, Net Care confirmed that an air ambulance was available. They further
indicated that they were ready to proceed once they get a letter of guarantee from the
High Commission. Arrangements were made by the High Commission and a letter of
guarantee to meet the expenses was written and sent to Net Care Rescue International,
and the air ambulance was secured25. That letter dated 5th April 2012 bore the
President’s name as “Daniel Phiri”. The name Daniel Phiri was also the name for the
President on the Airport exist documents for his evacuation to South Africa. The first
26
24. See transcript of the State House press release as broadcast on MBC Radio 1, at 8 p.m. on 5th April 2012, attched as
Annex 8.
25. Two letters are attached as Annex 15 and Annex 16.
letter was later replaced with a second letter dated 6th April 2012 bearing the correct
name of the President.
The High Commissioner then sentMr. Godiya toMilpark Hospital in Johannesburg
to appreciate the arrangements that the hospital had made in readiness of the arrival of
the President. The Commission was informed that the Malawi Mission in SouthAfrica
identified Milpark Hospital because it had Presidential or VVIP wards.
Sometime in the evening, Mr. Godiya received a call from Mr. Charles Thupi,
Deputy Director General of State Residences, advising him that the air ambulance was
not going to fly out of Malawi that night because they were waiting for the condition
of the President to stabilize. However, Dr. Thupi later called Mr. Godiya and advised
him that the air ambulance had departed Lilongwe. The same information was given to
Mr. Godiya by the High Commissioner,Mrs.Mussa.Mrs.Mussa then askedMr. Godiya
to proceed to Lanseria InternationalAirport to facilitate the arrival of the President. The
port of entry was however later changed, and Mr. Godiya was later told to proceed to
Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria.
2.3.2 Arrival of the Air Ambulance in South Africa.
The air ambulance landed at the airbase around 2:30 am in the morning of 6thApril
201226. The VVIP patient, as was supposed to be the case, was welcomed by the South
African Chief Director responsible for Consular Services at the Department of
International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Mr. D. Naidoo, the Commander of
the South Africa National Defence Force, General S.Z. Shoke and the Malawi High
Commissioner to South Africa, Mrs. Agrina Mussa.
In her testimony, Mrs. Mussa submitted that as was the case elsewhere, when a
President travels to another country, the Ambassador of the President’s country is
responsible for receiving the President at the airport. Thus, when the air ambulance
landedMrs.Mussa went to the aircraft. She was accompanied byMr. Naidoo.After the
First lady and the late President’s daughter had disembarked, Mrs. Mussa went inside
the ambulance. She told the Commission that she was shocked at what she saw. She
noted that the President had a tube in his mouth and had been laid and strapped on a
stretcher. She did not see any life support tubes or oxygen masks on the President. She
did not see any motion on him. She broke down to the extent that she had to be helped
out of the aircraft by two military officers.
The body of the President was brought out of the air ambulance and taken into a
waiting ambulance straight to One Military Hospital in Pretoria. At the hospital, the
President’s body was taken to the casualty section for only about 15 minutes.According
to the testimony of Dr. Dan Namarika official confirmation of the death of the President
took place at this hospital. The body was then taken away from One Military Hospital
to the Forensic Pathology ServicesMortuary, located at Steve BikoAcademic Hospital
in Pretoria.
2.3.3 South African Government Assistance.
The Commission heard that after the body was placed in the mortuary, the
Commander of the South Africa National Defence Force, General S.Z. Shoke called
27
26. See Notice of death and cause of death of President Bingu wa Mutharika issued at One Military Hospital, Pretoria,
South Africa, attached as Annex 17.
for a meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to inform the parties of the SouthAfrican
Government’s commitment during that period. The meeting was informed that the South
African Government was going to meet the following:
(a) Accommodation for the First Lady and the President’s daughter, Mrs. Duwa
Mutharika – Mubaira, at Johnny Makhathini Government Guest House in
Waterkloof Heights.
(b) Payment for the air ambulance that had carried the body of the late President
from Malawi to South Africa.
(c) Cost for postmortem (autopsy) to be done by senior pathologists.
(d) Cost of embalming by AVBOB embalming services.
(e) Transport in form of two aircraft, one a military aircraft for the repatriation of
the body of the late President and another aircraft (a jet) for the return of the
family and the entourage to Malawi.
(f) The cost of the casket.
2.3.4 Preparations for Postmortem and Embalming
On Sunday, 8th April 2012, the Principal Secretary for Health, Dr. Charles
Mwansambo, called Prof. George Liomba, a specialist pathologist based in Blantyre
and asked him if he could proceed to South Africa to witness the postmortem and
embalming of the late President. He was advised that he was due to leave the country
the following day, Monday, and return on Wednesday. Prof. Liomba agreed and
proceeded to South Africa as scheduled.
Prof. Liomba told the Commission that upon arrival in South Africa, his bags went
missing at the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. He therefore took
some time at the airport. He finally left the airport for Pretoria in the company of Dr.
Bosco from South Africa and Dr. Namarika. The two had come to meet Prof. Liomba
at the airport. They arrived in Pretoria around 10 pm and Prof. Liomba was taken
straight to the mortuary where the body was lying.While there, they had a meeting with
the medical personnel in which they discussed some pertinent issues.
During the meeting Prof. Liomba and Dr. Namarika were advised that they were
not going to be allowed to participate in the conduct of the postmortem examination
because, being foreign doctors, they first needed to have temporary registration, which
was going to take time to arrange. It was then resolved that they were going to be
temporarily registered only for the purposes of witnessing the postmortem. It was also
agreed at the meeting that the body was going to be examined from the neck down and
that, depending on the findings, the skull may be opened.
The Commission was informed that at the meeting Dr. Namarika gave the medical
history of the late President. Dr. Namarika briefed the meeting that despite being
overweight and having cholesterol, the late President was generally a person of good
28
health at the time of his death. Prof. Liomba told the Commission that Dr. Namarika also
informed the meeting that the late President was on several regular medications. Prof.
Liomba told the Commission that Dr. Namarika further informed the meeting that in
2009 the President suffered a minor heart attack and was treated for that condition during
his travels to Egypt or Hong Kong. Dr. Namarika gave the same information in his
testimony to the Commission about the minor heart attack that the President is said to
have suffered in 2009.
The meeting was also briefed that after the death, there were still attempts to try and
revive the late President for three hours because family members kept insisting that
they should continue trying. After this briefing, they wanted to discuss the logistics of
conducting the postmortem examination. The meeting however noted that the
pathologist in charge in South Africa was not going to be available the following day,
9th April, as he was appearing in court.
On the following day, Dr. Namarika and Prof. Liomba proceeded to brief the First
Lady about the arrangements.
2.3.5 The Postmortem
Prof. Liomba told the Commission that postmortem was done onWednesday, 11th
April 2012. Prof. Liomba and Dr. Namarika attended the procedure. Prior to opening
Commission that they noted that the body, the team noted that the late President had
central obesity. Prof. Liomba told the body had started decomposing as evidenced by
the smell and a few flies hovering around. It was noted that both sides of the chest had
turned greenish in colour, which were early signs of decomposition. Two tubes had been
attached on both sides of his chest to take care of emphysema that had resulted from
pierced lungs.
The Commission was informed that when the body was opened, it was noted that the
intestines were large. The blood was black and the heart was also noted to be bigger than
normal. The weight of the heart was also not normal as the heart weighed 500 grammes.
The arteries that supplied blood to the heart did not have any recent clots. There was also
no evidence of clots in the aorta. There was blood on the left hand side of the chest and
also in the abdomen. The organs in the abdomen had all normal signs. The team
observed that there was evidence of decomposition of the body.
The team further noted that several ribs were broken especially on the left hand side
of the body. The sternum was also fractured. The kidneys and the bladder were also
opened and there was no evidence of cancer anywhere. In particular they observed no
signs of prostate cancer.
After examining the body and the organs, the team had a mini conference to discuss
their preliminary findings. This discussion involved the South African senior
pathologist, Dr. Namarika and Prof. Liomba. The team concluded that the blood in the
chest and the abdomen was as a result of efforts to resuscitate the late President. They
also concluded that due to the late President’s history of heart attack, he had suffered
cardiac arrest due to irregularities in the beating of the heart. The team therefore made
29
a preliminary finding that the cause of the death of the President was cardiac
arrhythmia (irregular beating of the heart) leading to cardiac arrest27. The team further
discussed whether it was necessary to open the skull. It was agreed that there was no
point in opening the skull. However, other specimens from the heart, the lungs and the
kidneys were taken for further examination and for toxicology.
The First Lady and the family members who were in South Africa were briefed
accordingly about the findings.
2.3.6 Embalming of the Body
Embalming took place in the afternoon of Wednesday, 11th April 2012. The
Commission was informed that it was the wish of the family to embalm the body for a
period of 100 years. The embalmers however advised that it was not possible to proceed
along those lines and advised that they can only do embalming for 40 to 45 years. This
was agreed to and the embalming took place on that day.
After the process, the South African pathologists requested that the body be left in
open air for four days to allow the embalming fluid settle down in the body. It was
however eventually agreed to leave the body in open air for three days after a concern
was expressed that people inMalawi were waiting. It was also agreed that the body was
going to be taken to Malawi on Saturday, 14th April 2012.
On Friday, 13th April 2012, dress rehearsals were held at Waterkloof Airbase in
preparation for the repatriation of the body toMalawi the following day. In the evening,
Dr. Namarika proceeded to the mortuary to check the body. On the same day the body
was moved to One Military Hospital where it was laid for the night.
The following day, 14th April 2012, a religious ceremony was held at the hospital.
After the ceremony the body was carried to the airbase where full military honours were
accorded to the late President’s body by the South African National Defense Force. As
per the earlier commitment, the SouthAfrican Government provided the military plane
and a jet.
On the issue of embalming, Prof. Liomba told the Commission that in his view the
process had been properly done. He however noted that the body was being embalmed
several days after death and explained that when you embalm a body which is in good
condition, it remains in good condition. He however told the Commission that when
you embalm a body which is already decomposing, what you do is to stop further
decomposition. He further explained that the face of the late President was very dark not
because of the embalming but due to part of the blood that circulates since the body
stayed for a long time on an open place before being embalmed.As a matter of fact, the
body stayed in the open without refrigeration for about 18 hours after death.
2.3.7 Prayers
On the religious side, Mr. Godiya organized special prayers for the late President
which were held at the guest house hosting the First Lady everyday fromTuesday, 10th
to Thursday 12th April. A holy Eucharistic celebration was held on Friday, 13th April,
30
at OneMilitary Hospital. The funeral mass was presided over by His GraceArchbishop
William Slattery of the Archdiocese of Pretoria. He was assisted by some Malawian
priests working in different parts of SouthAfrica who came to Pretoria for the purpose.
He was also assisted by a Chaplain from the South Africa National Defence Force.
2.4 ARRIVAL OF THE BODY IN MALAWI AND BURIAL
2.4.1 Arrival of the Body
The body of the late President arrived in Malawi through Kamuzu International
Airport on Saturday, 14th April 2012, aboard a South African National Defence Force
(SANDF) military aircraft. The casket was accompanied by SANDF officers. The other
aircraft, a jet, carried the First Lady and the late President’s children and relatives. The
children included those who had later joined the others in South Africa. They were
accompanied by the Malawi High Commissioner to South Africa, Mrs. Agrina Mussa,
the Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Jean Kalirani, and senior Government officials from
the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
At Kamuzu International Airport, the body was received by the President of the
Republic of Malawi, Her Excellency Mrs. Joyce Banda, Cabinet Ministers, senior
Government officials and other dignitaries. The casket carrying the late President was
taken down from the military plane by members of the SouthAfrican National Defence
Force. Members of the Malawi Defence Force received the casket from their
counterparts and full military honours were held at the airport. The body was then taken
to State House, Lilongwe.
2.4.2 Condition of the Body Prior to Viewing at State House
In preparation for the arrival of the body inMalawi, two medical personnel involved
in embalming services, Ms. Maggie Ndlovu of College of Medicine and Mr. Lufeyo
Mphimbi of Kamuzu Central Hospital, were called to prepare the body for viewing at
State House. When the body arrived at State House all people were asked to leave the
room in order to allow the medical personnel to prepare the body for viewing.
The two medical personnel informed the Commission that when they opened the
casket, they noted that the body was not wrapped to international standard procedure,
that is, it was not sealed in a metal lining. Instead, it was placed in the casket in plastic
sheeting. They told the Commission that they noted that the casket was glittery but was
not really strong as they discovered that some parts were falling apart.
The two medical personnel told the Commission that they noted that the clothing and
the pillow in the casket were wet. Embalming fluid was coming out through the mouth
and the nose and part of the fluid was drying. They also noted that the hands were
swollen. The skin behind the ears was slippery. Behind the neck, the body showed signs
of decomposition. Overall, it was their assessment that the body could have been in a
better condition.
The two medical personnel informed the Commission that apart from noticing non
compliance with acceptable standards of packaging, the body was not accompanied
31
with documentation. They informed the Commission that it is a standard international
requirement that the body of a dead person is to be accompanied with proper
documentation when being transferred to another country. In this case, the medical
personnel were not given any documentation.
The two medical personnel had to make quick decisions. They considered whether
to remove the wet clothing from the body, but decided against doing so because they did
not want to cause further damage to the body. They called for a carpenter who came and
fixed the parts of the casket that were falling apart. They got an apron and wrapped the
body and turned the pillow to hide the blood stain. They further had to re-embalm the
mouth and combed the hair. They applied powder to the face because it had gone overly
dark.
It was after those preparations that the VIPs led by the President, Her Excellency
Mrs. Joyce Banda, and members of the family proceeded to view the body. They were
joined by other dignitaries on that first day of viewing at State House.
In view of what they had observed, the medical personnel explained that it was
possible to re-embalm the body. However, they explained that this was normally done
by way of incisions and that they would only do it where they knew the cause of death.
They told the Commission that they had no idea of the cause of death since there was
no accompanying documentation.
2.4.3 Viewing by the General Public
The following day, Sunday 15th April 2012, the two medical personnel proceeded
much earlier to State House. Upon arrival at State House, they noted that a few flies
were flying around the casket. It was then decided that a glass cover be placed on the
casket. Accordingly a glass cover was procured from Mamiyo Funeral Parlour and
placed on the casket. On Sunday, 15th April 2012, the body remained lying in state at
State House. Dignitaries and others continued to view the body.
On Monday, 16th April 2012, the body was moved to Parliament Building for
viewing by the general public which was also led by the State President. After
Parliament Building viewing by the general public continued in Mzuzu on 17th April,
in Blantyre on 19th and 20th and finally at Ndata Farm in Thyolo, the burial place, on
21st and 22nd April 2012.
2.4.4 Date of Death on the Cross Accompanying the Body
From the day of arrival of the body from SouthAfrica the public noted that the date
of death of the President displayed on the cross accompanying the body kept changing.
On the day that the body arrived from SouthAfrica, the cross had an inscription that the
late President died on 7th April 2012. The following day during public viewing the
original date was crossed out and a new date, 5th April 2012, was inscripted. Later the
date of 6th April 2012 was inscripted on the cross and that remained the date up to the
time of burial.
32
2.4.5 Burial of the Late President
The body of the late President was buried on 23rd April 2012 at Mpumulo wa Bata
Mausoleum at his Ndata Farm Residence in Thyolo District. The burial was led by the
President of the Republic of Malawi, Her Excellency Mrs. Joyce Banda, and was
attended by Government officials and a cross-section of the people of Malawi. Burial
was also attended by foreign Heads of State and Government and other foreign
dignitaries who included the Presidents of Kenya,Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and
Zimbabwe; the Vice Presidents of South Africa and Zambia; the Prime Minister of
Zimbabwe, the Chairman of the African Union Commission; the Secretary General of
the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Executive
Secretary of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
33
CHAPTER 3
EVIDENCE TAKEN REGARDING ISSUES OF TRANSITION OF STATE
POWER
3.1 EVENTS ON 5th APRIL, 2012
3.1.1 Discussions at Kamuzu Central Hospital
The illness of the President, his admission at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) and
his eventual death, created panic among Cabinet Ministers, Government officials and
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) functionaries. Discussions regarding the issue of
succession started right at the hospital in the afternoon of 5th April 2012.
It is in evidence that Hon. Peter Mutharika, Hon. Goodall Gondwe and the Chief
Secretary, Mr. Bright Msaka, SC, discussed this matter as they were sitting in the
Hospital Director’s office at KCH. They wondered what was going to happen in the
country, in terms of succession, bearing in mind that the Vice President, Rt. Hon. Mrs.
Joyce Banda, had left the ruling party and had formed her own opposition political party.
It was in evidence that during the discussions, the Chief Secretary brought up the issue
of the referral case. The three also considered the issue of national security and
wondered how it was going to be handled. At the end, the meeting agreed that it was
important that a meeting be called on the matter with the security officers. It was further
agreed that Cabinet be called the following day to be briefed and to be consulted about
the situation.
The Chief Secretary told the Commission that, while at the hospital, Hon. Peter
Mutharika called him aside. Hon. Mutharika mentioned to the Chief Secretary that this
was a serious situation and asked him if it would not be a good idea for the Army
(Malawi Defence Force) to take over Government. The Chief Secretary told the
Commission that he advised Hon. Mutharika that it was not a good idea. However, in
his own testimony to the Commission Hon. PeterMutharika denied having ever at any
point discussed such a thing with the Chief Secretary.
The Chief Secretary told the Commission that having heard the suggestion of an
Army take over from Hon. Peter Mutharika, he became uncomfortable. He proceeded
to meet the Malawi Defence Force Commander, General Henry Odillo, who was still
at the hospital at that time. The Chief Secretary asked General Odillo whether theArmy
understood its role in times of such events. He also asked the General if he understood
what the Constitution said in the event of the death of the President.
The Chief Secretary told the Commission that it was very clear from the response
of General Odillo that the military in Malawi correctly understood not only its role in
the situation, but also the constitutional provisions in the event of death of the President.
He told the Commission that the response by General Odillo gave him some comfort in
the way his office would handle the development.
34
3.1.2 Meeting Between the Chief Secretary and the Attorney General
It is in evidence that the same afternoon, 5th April 2012, the Chief Secretary called
the Attorney General, Justice Maxon Mbendera, SC, for the two of them to meet at the
Chief Secretary’s house. TheAttorney General proceeded to the Chief Secretary’s house
around 3 pm. At the house, the Chief Secretary informed the Attorney General that the
President had been taken ill and he was not giving him a chance. He stressed that the
situation was grim. The Chief Secretary then asked the Attorney General to provide a
legal opinion on what would be the way forward28.
The Attorney General told the Commission that when he was leaving the house of
the Chief Secretary at that point, he got the impression that the President was
incapacitated by the illness but had not died. The Attorney General proceeded to his
office where he, together with his staff, considered the issue of incapacitation of the
President. At around 6pm on the same day, the Attorney General verbally advised the
Chief Secretary that in the event of the President’s incapacitation, the Vice President, Rt.
Hon. Mrs. Joyce Banda, will have to take over as Acting President in accordance with
section 87 of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi.
3.1.3 Call from the Chief Secretary to the Chief Justice
The Chief Secretary told the Commission that on the same day, 5th April 2012, in
the evening he called the Chief Justice, His Lordship Justice LovemoreMunlo, SC, and
asked where he was. The Chief Justice told the Chief Secretary that he had just crossed
the border into Tanzania for a holiday. The Chief Secretary explained the situation back
home and asked him to return immediately because there was need for him to be around.
The Commission established that in that call the Chief Secretary did not disclose to the
Chief Justice that the President had died.
3.1.4 Meeting at Hon. Peter Mutharika’s House
As had been resolved at the meeting among the three senior Government officials
held in the office of the Hospital Director at Kamuzu Central Hospital, a meeting was
convened at the residence of Hon. Peter Mutharika in Area 43. The Malawi Defence
Force Commander, General Henry Odillo, and the Inspector General of Police, Mr.
Peter Mukhito, were invited to the meeting. The meeting was thus attended by Hon.
PeterMutharika, Hon. Goodall Gondwe, the Chief Secretary,Mr. BrightMsaka SC, the
MDF Commander, General Henry Odillo, and the Inspector General of Police,Mr. Peter
Mukhito.
The Chief Secretary told the Commission that at the meeting, Hon. PeterMutharika
asked the MDF Commander and the Inspector General of Police whether they were
going to stand with the Government in the crisis. The Chief Secretary told the
Commission that before either of the two could respond, he responded to the question
on behalf of the two. He informed the Commission that he told the meeting that his
view was that, firstly, the two officers had not had time to meet their men and brief
them about the situation and, secondly, that he had already advised the two to follow the
side that was consistent with the law. According to the Chief Secretary, both the Army
35
28. See the Attorney General’s legal opinion to Chief Secretary attached as Annex 18
Commander and the Inspector General of Police agreed with the position that the Chief
Secretary had taken. However, the Chief Secretary’s testimony on the position that he
indicated to have taken was not corroborated by the testimony of any of the persons
who attended the meeting.
When the Chief Secretary was recalled to the Commission to shed more light on
this matter, he told the Commission that he did not remember any substantive
discussions at the meeting held at Hon. Mutharika’s house and did not believe that the
Army was asked to take over the country. He stated that nobody talked about theArmy
taking over Government. He further stated that, at the meeting, Hon. Mutharika was
seeking an opinion on what should be done in the circumstances. However, he
maintained his assertion during his earlier testimony to the Commission that Hon.
Mutharika did approach him at the hospital on 5th April 2012 on what the Chief
Secretary thought about the Army taking over.
According to theMDF Commander, General Henry Odillo, the meeting at the house
of Hon. PeterMutharika, was chaired by Hon. Goodall Gondwe.About the discussions
at the meeting, General Odillo’s testimony to the Commission was in the following
words:
“So the first individual who opened up the discussion was Hon.
Gondwe. I think to me he gave me the impression that he was the
leading speaker in the meeting. He made a few remarks and he
indicated that since we all know what has happened the country might
be on fire. So we have to see how we handle the situation. Now he
approached me with some suggestions that the military should make
an announcement and after making an announcement possibly take
over the situation of the country until such a time that the political
party organized themselves and then later on take over the leadership
or power. The moment that statement was made I was extremely very
uncomfortable. It was sensed that I was not literally supporting that
idea because at that stage my first remark was that, well, we have a
situation here I think as a government it’s critical that you got to make
decisions. That was my first statement, you got to make a decision, I
think this is a critical moment; you got to make a decision. And then I
was asked by the Professor and said, well, what decision do you expect
because we are all here, we are supposed to be making the decisions.
I said no this is a wrong forum. And at that stage the Chief Secretary
intervened and said well I think maybe we need to give more time to
the General to think over this situation. Because unfortunately at that
point I felt, as I said, uncomfortable because I think there is no
provision at all in the Constitution which provides the military taking
over power or getting involved in politics. So that is how it started.
We left the meeting room. I and the Inspector General we left at the
same time.”.
The meeting ended on that note. General Odillo told the Commission that after the
meeting he proceeded to summon senior officers from the MDF for a meeting the
following day to brief them on the situation. The following day the meeting took place
36
at the MDF Headquarters at which General Odillo briefed his senior officials about the
situation in the country following the President’s illness and on the need for the military
to abide by the Constitution. He informed the Commission that he did not disclose to
the officers about the suggestion of theArmy taking over because in his opinion he felt
that he needed not make the situation worse. In their testimony to the Commission two
senior MDF officers, Brigadier General Ignacio Maulana and Major General John
Msonthi, confirmed to the Commission that General Odillo did not inform them about
the suggestion for the Army to take over Government.
The Commander further told the Commission that the following day, in the evening,
he received five phone calls which he identified as coming from Hon. PeterMutharika’s
phone, which he ignored. Shortly after the last call, he received a call from the Chief
Secretary asking him whether he had received some calls on his phone which he did not
answer and if he knew who was calling him and why was he was not picking up the
calls. General Odillo told the Commission that he told the Chief Secretary that he knew
that the phone calls were coming from Hon. Mutharika and he said that he felt he had
nothing to say to him. When Hon. Mutharika testified before the Commission the
question of the phone calls to General Odillo was put to him and he vehemently denied
having ever called General Odillo on the evening of 6th April.
Upon recall on the matter ofArmy take-over, theMDF Commander maintained that
at the meeting held at Hon. Peter Mutharika’s house, Hon. Goodall Gondwe, who
presided over the meeting, did mention that there was going to be bloodshed in the
country and wondered what the Army could do. According to General Odillo, Hon.
Goodall Gondwe went further and said that the military should proceed and make an
announcement and that it should control the political situation in the country. General
Odillo further told the Commission that the decisions that he was referring to in his
earlier testimony were supposed to be political decisions and he saw that there was need
to be quick enough because any delays in announcing the death of the President would
be opening space for problems.
On the issue of the meeting at Hon. PeterMutharika’s house, Hon. Goodall Gondwe
told the Commission that he could recall that he got a call around 4.15pm reminding him
about the meeting at Hon. PeterMutharika’s house. He confirmed the attendance of the
five of them at the meeting, that is, Hon. PeterMutharika, the Chief Secretary, theMDF
Commander, the Inspector General and himself. According to Hon. Goodall Gondwe,
the Chief Secretary did most of the talking. He briefed them about what had happened
and told the meeting that they should be prepared and be ready to deal with the situation.
Hon. Gondwe explained that the MDF Commander was very eloquent during the
discussions and that his view was that the MDF was going to handle the security
situation. To Hon. Gondwe, the head of the Army looked fine in the discussions. He
maintained that the discussion at the meeting centered around the security issues relating
to the ability of the security organs to maintain law and order in the country if things got
out of hand.
Upon recall on the meeting, Hon. Gondwe confirmed that during the discussions at
the hospital earlier in the afternoon, it was observed that there was a possibility of
disorder in the country. Hon. Gondwe told the Commission that at the meeting the
37
security people were briefed about the situation and it was mentioned to them that during
that time there was a possibility of public disorder bearing in mind that the issue of
succession, likely to be taken to the judges, may take a bit long to be decided by the
courts. He noted that in that event there may be a vacuum. Hon. Goodall vehemently
denied that there was any mention of the Army making an announcement and taking
over Government of the country.
According to the former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Peter Mukhito, when the
Commission called him in the first instance, he stated that he got a call from the MDF
Commander, General Odillo, asking for directions to Hon. Peter Mutharika’s house.
The Commander drove to Police Headquarters inArea 30, where he linked up with the
Inspector General and they proceeded together to the house but in separate vehicles.
According to the Inspector General in his testimony at his first appearance before the
Commission, the discussion at Hon. Mutharika’s house was about the readiness of the
two security branches to handle the security situation. He was not very clear on the
issue of the Army take over the first time that he appeared before the Commission.
In response to a question by the Commission on whether the issue of the MDF
takeover was discussed at the meeting at Honourable Peter Mutharika’s residence, Mr.
Mukhito confirmed to the Commission that indeed the issue was mentioned that when
things get chaotic theArmy should be ready to at least come in. He confirmed that it was
at this point that General Odillo said that the Army could not come in because it was a
political problem and it needed to be sorted out politically.
The Commission having looked and reviewed the strength of the Commander’s
evidence, recalled the Inspector General specifically for him to elaborate on his earlier
statement about the Army coming in should there be chaos. In his testimony on recall
he said as follows:
“Normally we do call the Army to assist. I recall that I said those
words. Perhaps the context in which I said those words was largely
on the part of security mainly on the internal security that where the
Police has failed normally we invite the Army to come in to assist not
necessarily taking over of the Government, no, but I was talking about
the internal security that where the Police has failed, and examples
like the incidences that occurred on 20th July (2011), in both Lilongwe
and Mzuzu where we were incapacitated as Police Service, we really
invited the Army to come in and really they did. So the coming in of the
Army which I actually alluded to was in terms of security and nothing
else.”.
When the Commission asked the former Inspector General whether during that
meeting the Commander of theMalawi Defence Force was asked if theArmy was ready
to run the affairs of State, he responded as follows:
“Now going back to the meeting which actually took place at the
residence of the Honourable Professor in fact I remember that there
was a proposal that in fact they want to take the matter to the court.
But now I think it was between Honourable Gondwe and Honourable
Professor there was that mention to say if we take this matter to court
38
obviously there was going to be a reaction and now when that reaction
comes, are you as the Army ready to take over. That was really
mentioned and it came from I think in between the two Honourable
Professor and Honourable Gondwe. Yes that was mentioned.”.
Then the Commission asked the former Inspector General what General Odillo’s
response was. He said:
“The General’s response was that what we have here is a political
problem and as a political problem it has to be resolved politically
and not involve us as security agencies. That was the statement he
made. And when we came out, the Chief Secretary and the rest
remained behind and this when we discussed as we were boarding our
vehicles (we took the position) that this was a political problem and
that was our stand as the two security organizations.”.
Hon. Mutharika did indicate when he appeared before the Commission the first
time that there were several meetings at his house. A lot of people came to the house,
and people were having meetings here and there within the premises of the house. He
told the Commission that he did not remember having attended the meeting which
discussed the suggestion of Army take-over. He said it may have been because he was
busy on the phone. Hundreds of calls were coming through his phone from people
within and abroad inquiring about the issue of the President.
When he appeared before the Commission the second time, following his own
request to come and clarify some matters, Hon. Mutharika told the Commission that the
reason that he had decided to come to the Commission again was that the last time that
he had appeared before the Commission, he was asked about the meeting involving
himself, Hon. Goodall Gondwe, the Chief Secretary, the MDF Commander and the
Inspector General of Police that took place at his house. He explained that on the day
that they had the meeting he had just heard the news of the President’s death and was
sleeping when the team came to his house. He told the Commission that he had
truthfully forgotten about the meeting when he came before the Commission the first
time.
Hon. Peter Mutharika further told the Commission that when Hon. Gondwe came
back from the United States, he asked him whether he remembered about the meeting.
He explained that Hon. Gondwe advised him that he remembered about that meeting.
Hon. Gondwe told him that it was the Chief Secretary who had arranged the meeting
and reminded him what was discussed at the meeting. In his own words, Hon.Mutharika
explained to the Commission about the meeting as follows:
“He [Hon. Goodall Gondwe] reminded me about the meeting, that
the main point about the meeting was that we were concerned
especially considering what happened before, demonstrations,
disorders. What would happen in the country that is in the event that
there is disorder? Is the Army and the Police able to contain it? You
remember how on July 24th, was it 20th, the Police had difficulties
containing the riots that time. We said are you ready in fact this time
39
if there are riots? And they said they were. And I think that was the
essence of the meeting. Now when after I told Gondwe I called my
former colleague Mr. Kayira here [Secretary to the Commission] and
said can you pass the information to the Chairman, so he said no
actually I needed to come in person to explain that. That’s why I came
here to make sure because I think the question you raised was that
Hon. Gondwe and I had been asking, I think the Army, to take over the
Government or something. I just don’t think that’s true because that
was the same time we were waiting for the referral. I think the referral
had already been sent to court. So that was the essence of the meeting
and I thought it was important that I clarify that and I think Gondwe’s
testimony, I think, obviously it is confidential, his testimony is
consistent with what I am saying that we were simply interested to
know in the event of disorder could they in fact contain it and they
said they could. So that’s essentially what it was. That’s why I came
here.”.
The Commission clearly established that the testimony of Hon. Mutharika on his
recall in respect of the matter was based on what Hon. Goodall Gondwe told him or
reminded him.
3.1.5 Calling of Meeting of Cabinet Ministers
On the evening of 5th April 2012, the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC)
issued an invitation to all Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers to a meeting the
following morning at the Office of the President and Cabinet from 9 o’clock. The
invitation was made by phone call by Mr. Clement Chinthu Phiri, Clerk to Cabinet in
OPC, on instructions from the Chief Secretary, Mr. Bright Msaka, SC.
3.1.6 Ministers Converge at Hon. Goodall Gondwe’s House
It is the evidence of the former Minister of Justice and ConstitutionalAffairs, Hon.
EphraimMganda Chiume, that on 5thApril 2012 he left Lilongwe for the North.When
the news of the illness of the President broke out he was atMponela. He called Hon. Dr.
Jean Kalirani who indeed confirmed to him the illness of the President. She advised
him to return to Lilongwe. He immediately returned to Lilongwe. He further called
Hon. Goodall Gondwe who confirmed that the President had indeed been taken ill. This
was around 2pm.When he arrived in Lilongwe, he went straight to Hon. Goodall
Gondwe’s house where he found him and Hon. Ken Lipenga. He asked about the
condition of the President and Hon. Gondwe told him that the President was dead. A
discussion ensued amongst them on the development. Hon. Goodall Gondwe asked
Hon. Chiume his thoughts on what would happen in the situation. Hon. Chiume told the
Commission that he advised Hon. Gondwe that the Constitution was very clear that the
Vice President would take over.
As they were discussing the matter at the house, they were joined by few other
Ministers, including Hon. Dr. Kalirani. The DPP Secretary General, Mr. Wakuda
Kamanga, also joined the group. They were informed that the President was to be flown
40
to SouthAfrica. Hon. Chiume told the Commission that they all knew within themselves
that the President had died but they agreed to keep it to themselves in order to manage
the situation.
3.2 EVENTS ON 6th OFAPRIL 2012
3.2.1 Meeting Between Ministers Gondwe and Chiume with the Attorney General
Early in the morning of 6th April 2012 around 6:30, the Minister of Justice and
Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Ephraim Mganda Chiume, drove to the house of Hon.
Goodall Gondwe. From there he drove to the house of the Attorney General Justice
Maxon Mbendera, SC. According to Justice Mbendera, Hon. Chiume informed him in
Tumbuka, that “Ba President bali kufwa mayilo”. [the President passed away
yesterday]. The Attorney General was told that a meeting had been arranged that
morning at Hon. Goodall Gondwe’s house to discuss legal options to make sure that
the Vice President did not assume the office of President.As they were discussing, Hon.
Chiume received a phone call from Hon. Gondwe, and they immediately left for his
house.
At the house of Hon. Goodall Gondwe, the issue of succession was raised again.
According to the testimony of Justice Mbendera, which was corroborated by Hon.
Gondwe and Hon. Chiume, he advised the two Ministers that the Vice President, Rt.
Hon.Mrs. Joyce Banda, was the rightful person to succeed the President.At the meeting,
they went through the Constitution to try and find a way of stopping Mrs. Joyce Banda
from ascending to the office of President. They discussed finding a way to seek
interpretation of the court on the matter bearing in mind thatMrs. Joyce Banda was not
a functional Vice President as she was outside Government having formed her own
party, the Peoples Party (PP) which stood in opposition to the ruling party, the
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). In pursuing this legal route, it was considered that
a court injunction against the Vice President’s ascendancy to the office of President
would be obtained pending the determination of the matter. Hon. Chiume explained
that the plan was to proceed on that route and invoke section 85 of the Constitution as
soon as the injunction was obtained. This was going to allow Cabinet Members to
proceed under section 85 of the Constitution to choose an Acting President and an
Acting Vice President from among themselves.
Hon. Goodall Gondwe confirmed in his testimony that on the morning of 6th April
2012 Hon. Chiume and theAttorney General, JusticeMbendera, came to his house. The
purpose of their coming was for the Attorney General to brief Hon. Gondwe about his
view on the matter of succession. Hon. Gondwe explained that theAttorney General did
advise that the Constitution was quite clear that the Vice President had to take over. The
Attorney General further advised the meeting that what was being planned would be
illegal. He further suggested the case against the Vice President was weak. According
to Hon. Gondwe, he agreed with theAttorney General on his interpretation. He advised
him that there was going to be a meeting of CabinetMinisters that morning at 9 o’clock
and it would be advisable if theAttorney General attended and briefed CabinetMinisters
on the matter.
41
Hon Gondwe told the Commission that as the three were discussing the matter, His
Lordship the Chief Justice, LovemoreMunlo, SC, came to the house. The Chief Justice
explained to the three that he was on his way to Tanzania and had to return when he was
advised of the development by the Chief Secretary, Mr. Bright Msaka, SC, through a
phone call.
On his part, the Chief Justice informed the Commission that he was on his way to
Tanzania on 5thApril 2012 for a holiday. After he had crossed the border into Tanzania
he heard rumours about the death of the President. He contacted the Chief Secretary
who could not confirm about the death but only advised him that the President was to
be flown to South Africa as he was critically ill. He decided to come back home and
arrived in Lilongwe in the early hours of the 6th April 2012. He told the Commission
that he proceeded to Hon. Goodall Gondwe’s house in the morning to try and find out
what had actually happened. He told the Commission that he decided to proceed to Hon.
Gondwe’s house because he was a senior Minister in the set up.At the house, he found
the Minister of Justice, Hon. Chiume, and the Attorney General, Justice Mbendera,
having a discussion with Hon. Gondwe. Upon seeing him the discussion stopped and
Hon. Gondwe excused himself from the other two to speak to the Chief Justice. He told
the Commission that Hon. Gondwe confirmed to the Chief Justice that the President
had indeed died. The Chief Justice asked about the arrangements and was told that
Cabinet was going to meet that morning and that the decision that will be made at the
meeting will be made public29.
It was the evidence of the Chief Justice that upon leaving Hon. Gondwe’s house, he
passed through his friend’s house, Mr. Welford Sabola, and then proceeded to Hon.
Peter Mutharika’s house to offer condolences to him on his brother’s death.
Upon further questioning by the Commission, the Chief Justice explained that he did
not have any discussion with Hon. Chiume or the Attorney General except that the
Attorney General advised him not to proceed to Blantyre. He told the Commission that
he the Attorney General did not tell him anything more than that.
The Attorney General confirmed that when he saw the Chief Justice at Hon.
Gondwe’s house he took the opportunity, as legal advisor to the Government, which
included the Judiciary, to ask him to remain in Lilongwe because that is where
everything was going to be happening and that he would have a role to play. The
Attorney General told the Commission that he mentioned to the Chief Justice about the
issue of an impending constitutional application to be filed before court.
3.2.2 Morning Meeting of Cabinet Ministers
The meeting of Cabinet Ministers took place at the Office of the President and
Cabinet in the conference room from 9 am. The meeting was well attended. All
Ministers except Hon. George Chaponda and Hon. Reen Kachere were present. The
Chief Secretary, Mr. Msaka, SC, and his Deputy, Mr. Necton Mhura, the Clerk to
Cabinet, Mr. Clement Chinthu Phiri, and all members that serve Cabinet were present
42
29. See the notarised statement of evidence submitted to the Commission by His Lordship Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo,
dated 6th September 2012, attached 19. Also see a statement issued by His Lordship’s legal counsel dated 20th, May
2012 attached as Annex 20.
at the meeting. TheAttorney General also attended the meeting on invitation. To ensure
an orderly meeting, the Chief Secretary proposed that the most senior member of the
ruling party do preside over the meeting which was agreed to. Consequently, Hon.
Goodall Gondwe, First Vice President of the Democratic Progressive Party, presided
over the meeting.
Before the commencement of the meeting, the Chief Secretary addressed the
Ministers. He read a statement that he had prepared in advance in which he clearly
stated that the gathering was not a Cabinet meeting since it was not chaired by the
President or the Vice President neither had it been convened by either of them. He
explained that it was a meeting by members of Cabinet consulting among themselves
on the situation at hand. In his statement he advised the Ministers that there was need
for them to be swift and decisive and to remain within the constitutional framework. He
advised them to put the country first in their discussions and that they should put any
other consideration aside. He further advised the meeting that the Constitution was clear
on the issue of succession. He then also advised them that if members of Cabinet had
some doubts, then they were free to seek court interpretation on the matter30.
After the brief address by the Chief Secretary, Hon. Goodall Gondwe opened the
discussion. He explained that the President had been taken critically ill the previous
day and had been flown to SouthAfrica for further treatment. He further explained that
even in the event that the President was successfully resuscitated he would not be able
to perform his duties. At the meeting the issue of the death of the President was not
mentioned at all. The Ministers were advised that the President was incapacitated and
that there was need to chart the way forward on the issue of succession.
The meeting discussed the political situation prevailing that time. It discussed the
possibility of the Vice President, Rt. Hon. Mrs. Joyce Banda, ascending to the office of
President. The meeting recalled that a referral case had been brought up before the
Constitutional Court by the President. The case challenged the legitimacy of Rt. Hon.
Mrs. Joyce Banda serving as the Vice President bearing in mind that she had left the
ruling party, the Democratic Progressive Party, and had formed her own party, the
Peoples’ Party. The meeting noted that the case was yet to be concluded.
The Commission established that the discussion at the meeting was one sided,
against the Vice President ascending to the Presidency.At the end of the meeting it was
resolved that the ascendancy of the Vice President to the office of President was to be
contested in court. Accordingly, a smaller group of Cabinet Ministers was chosen to
further discuss and plan for the implementation of the resolution. The full meeting of
CabinetMinisters was then adjourned to later in the afternoon to get the progress report.
The Ministers who were chosen and attended the side meeting were Hon. Goodall
Gondwe, Hon. EphraimMganda Chiume, Hon. SidikMia, Hon. Dr. Jean Kalirani, Hon.
HenryMussa and Hon.YunusMussa. TheAttorney General also attended that meeting.
43
30. See the statement made by the Chief Secretary, Bright Msaka, SC. to Cabinet Ministers on 6th April 2012, attached as
Annex 21
It is in evidence before the Commission that during the meeting of this small group,
theAttorney General advised that the Constitution was very clear on the matter that the
Vice President was to assume the office of President in the circumstances at hand. The
meeting asked the Attorney General whether section 85 of the Constitution, on
simultaneous vacancies in the offices of the President and the Vice President was
applicable in the matter. The Attorney General explained that the section was not
applicable because there was no vacancy in the office of the Vice President. The
Ministers indicated to the Attorney General that they needed more time to make the
announcement about the death of the President. The meeting then decided that the
Minister of Justice and the Attorney General should proceed and get a court injunction
against the swearing in of the Vice President as President, and also that the Attorney
General should at the same time seek court interpretation on the question in the referral
case already in court. In his testimony, Hon. Goodall Gondwe claimed that at these
meetings, theAttorney General did not properly advise CabinetMinisters on the matter
especially with regard to the view that the referral case was weak and unlikely to
succeed.
As a matter of fact, the Attorney General, Justice Maxon Mbendera, SC, in his
testimony to the Commission, told the Commission that on the basis of the dissenting
judgment in the similar Presidential referral case against the then Vice President, Rt.
Hon. Dr. Cassim Chilumpha, during the 2004-2009 presidential term, he thought that
the referral case against Rt. Hon. Mrs. Joyce Banda that was pending in court stood a
chance of success if the Attorney General’s Office could advance and buttress the
reasoning in the dissenting judgment in the Chilumpha Case, which was by Justice
Rezine Mzikamanda, the presiding judge in the case, although the case was dismissed
by the majority dicision of the other two judges of the three member consititutional
court panel. In the end, however he appears to have turned round and he took a
determined stand against taking te matter to court, even offering to resign, as the
Commission has reported elsewhere in this Report.
It is in evidence that theMinister of Justice and theAttorney General left the meeting
and went to their office to start the process of implementing the resolution. The
Commission heard in evidence that all senior professional staff of the Ministry of
Justice, except the Solicitor General and Secretary for Justice, Mr. Anthony Kamanga,
SC, were called for discussions and consultations on the matter and were asked to work
as a team. TheMinister of Justice and ConstitutionalAffairs informed the Commission
that he is the one who gave instructions to the Attorney General not to involve the
Solicitor General because the system did not trust him and did not have confidence in
him. In their testimony both Hon. Chiume and Justice Mbendera told the Commission
that in their discussion at theMinistry they questioned themselves whose interests they
were serving in pursuing the legal route to challenge the Vice Presidency’s ascendancy
to the Presidency against a clear constitutional provision.
The meetings at the Ministry of Justice mainly involved the Minister, the Attorney
General, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs. Rosemary Kanyuka, and the Senior
Deputy Chief State Advocate, Dr. Zolomphi Nkowani. The Commission heard that at
some point, Mr. Allan Ntata, who at that time was Legal Counsel to the President,
44
showed up at the Ministry and had discussions with the Attorney General and Dr.
Nkowani on the matter. In her testimony, however, Mrs. Kanyuka denied having taken
any part in the discussions. According to her testimony she was only brought in as a
senior member of staff at the Ministry although the matter did not directly involve her
duties as Director of Public Prosecutions. However, it was clear from the testimony of
the Attorney General that she took part in the discussions.
The Commission established that at the end of the discussions at theMinistry, it was
agreed that two applications be made to the court. The first was to seek an order of
injunction to stop the Vice President from being sworn in as President and for an order
to allow Cabinet Ministers, under section 85 of the Constitution, to elect an Acting
President and an Acting Vice President. The second application was to revive the
determination of the referral case. The office of the Attorney General accordingly
prepared the applications. The applications were supported by affidavits which were
signed by twoMinisters, Hon. Dr. Jean Kalirani and Hon. HenryMussa. This was after
Hon. Chiume and Hon. Gondwe refused to sign the affidavits. The Commission received
evidence that it was in fact Mrs. Kanyuka who made contacts to secure the availability
of the two Ministers to sign the affidavits31.
TheAttorney General told the Commission that to his mind, the application to court
based on section 85 of the Constitution was unlikely to succeed. He started searching
his mind and thought that a political solution would be more appropriate in the
circumstances. He thought that perhaps the best way was for the politicians in
Government and in the Democratic Progressive Party to seek an intermediary to try and
broker a deal with the Vice President. To that end, he called the Chief Secretary on the
proposal. The Attorney General informed the Commission that the Chief Secretary
advised him that he had already tried to make that suggestion but his efforts had failed.
TheAttorney General told the Commission that on the evening of that day, 6thApril
2012, he sent a text message to Hon. Peter Mutharika advising him that the matter was
being mishandled. He did not get a response. TheAttorney General told the Commission
that he was sending these messages to try and bring sense in their approach to the matter.
After noting that his efforts at initiating mediation had failed he decided to proceed
with the court application. TheAttorney General therefore called theAssistant Registrar
at the High Court, Lilongwe Registry, His Honour Thomson Ligowe, to alert him that
his office would be bringing applications seeking court orders related to the situation at
hand. He sought to find out if any judges were available to hear the matter. Three judges
were needed to hear the matter as a constitutional case. He was advised that two Judges,
namely, Justice Rezine Mzikamanda and Justice Chifundo Kachale were within
Lilongwe. The two other Judges, namely, Justice Esmie Chombo and Justice Ivy
Kamanga, were away to Blantyre and Salima respectively. It is in evidence that the
Assistant Registrar contacted Justice Kamanga since she was said to be closer to
Lilongwe.
45
31 Copies of the court process made available by Dr. Nkowani are attached hereto as follows: Annex 22- Certificate of
urgency, Annex 23- Originating summons, Annex 24- Affidavit of Hon Goodall Gondwe, Annex 25- Affidavit of Hon.
Dr. Kalirani, Annex 26- Affidavit of Hon. Henry Mussa, Annex 27- Skeleton arguments, Annex 28- Draft Order.
In his testimony to the Commission, the Assistant Registrar, His Honour Thomson
Ligowe, confirmed having been contacted by theAttorney General. He also confirmed
contacting the Judges on the matter.All the three Judges, namely, JusticeMzikamanda,
Justice Kamanga, and Justice Kachale, confirmed to the Commission having been
contacted by the Assistant Registrar on the matter.
3.2.3 Actions taken by the Vice President and Press Conferences on the Day
Around 11o’clock in the morning a lot of activities were happening simultaneously.
The civil society groups had organized a press conference at the Riverside Hotel in
Lilongwe where they called for constitutional order in the country. They demanded full
compliance with constitutional provisions and indicated that the Vice President was the
rightful person to take charge in the event that the President was incapacitated or dead.
The press conference by civil society groups was followed by another press
conference held by the former President of the Republic ofMalawi, His Excellency Dr.
Bakili Muluzi. His press conference was held at his BCA Hill Residence in Blantyre
where he read a prepared statement. He too called for constitutional order. He stated that
the Constitution was very clear on the issue of succession in the event that the President
was incapacitated. He echoed the anxiety amongst Malawians about the lack of
information on the state of the President’s health while international media was
announcing his death. He stressed that the Vice President was the rightful person to take
charge of the affairs of State. In his testimony to the Commission Dr.Muluzi explained
that he was speaking in his capacity as former President and as Statesman of this country
and also as Goodwill Ambassador and stated that he could not just sit back and watch
the country degenerate into constitutional disorder.
In the meantime, the Vice President, Rt. Hon.Mrs. Joyce Banda, sent a letter32 to the
Chief Secretary seeking assurance that she was still Vice President and according to the
Constitution she was in charge in the circumstance. The Chief Secretary did not respond
to the letter. The Chief Secretary however told the Commission that he called the Vice
President and advised her to make herself visible. To that end they agreed that she should
hold a press conference later in the day. The Chief Secretary told the Commission that
he drafted and dictated a statement to one of the Vice President’s assistants intended to
be the statement to be read by the Vice President during her press conference that
afternoon at her official residence in Area 12 in Lilongwe. The draft produced to the
Commission by the Chief Secretrary read as follows33.
STATEMENT BY THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF
MALAWI, RIGHT HONOURABLE JOYCE BANDA
Fellow Malawians, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press,
I have invited you members of the press in view of the intense
speculation that is going on in the country and the international media
about the state of health of the State President, Ngwazi Professor
Bingu wa Mutharika, who was flown to South Africa yesterday for
treatment.
The media’s interest in the matter is justified and the people of
46
Malawi have the right to know about the state of health of our
President. Government is waiting for a formal report on the state of
health of our President, and I shall call you back, members of the
media, to brief you on the official position of the President’s health
when it is known. Meanwhile, I wish to appeal to all Malawians to
remain calm.
Thank you for your attention and may God bless you.
The Commission established that before the press conference the Vice President
called the Commander of the Malawi Defence Force, General Henry Odillo, seeking
assurance about the preservation of constitutional order in the country. General assured
Odillo the Vice President that theMalawi Defence Force was firmly behind maintaining
the constitutional order and would like to see full implementation of the constitutional
provisions. The Vice President further invited General Odillo to her official residence
in Area 12 where she was planning to hold a press conference later in the day. The
General Odillo advised that as he was engaged at the proposed time, he would assign
his two senior Army officers to come to her residence that afternoon. He accordingly
assigned Brigadier General Ignatius Maulana and Major General John Msonthi who
indeed came to the residence of the Vice President that afternoon.
3.2.4 The Democratic Progressive Party National Governing Council Meeting
The Commission received evidence that on the same day, 6th of April 2012, the
Democratic Progressive Party National Governing Council met at State House in
Lilongwe from around 2 pm. The purpose of the meeting was to brief members of the
NGC about what had happened and to chart the way forward. The meeting took place
in the Banana Room in the State House and was chaired by Hon. Goodall Gondwe,
being the First Vice President of the party.
The Commission heard that at the NGC meeting, members were briefed that the
President had been taken ill and had been flown to South Africa the previous night for
further treatment. The issue of death of the President was not disclosed to the members
and was not raised by anyone or discussed in the meeting. However, from the testimony
before the Commission most members individually knew that the President had died but
collectively there was pretence that he was still alive but critically ill.
During the meeting it was proposed that due to the sickness of the President, who
was also the President of the party, there was need for the party to choose an acting
president of the party. It was immediately decided that since the party had already
decided on Hon. Peter Mutharika to be its torch bearer for the 2014 general election,
there was no need to choose another person other than Hon. Peter Mutharika as acting
president of the party. On the other hand, Hon. Ken Lipenga told the Commission that
he proposed the name of Hon. Goodall Gondwe for the position of acting president
because in his view Hon.Mutharika was at that time pre-occupied with the illness of his
brother President Mutharika. Hon. Goodall Gondwe was the most senior member in
the ranks of the party after the President, as First Vice President. The meeting did not
even consider Hon. Lipenga’s proposal but unanimously agreed that Hon.Mutharika be
the Acting President of the party. After being elected, Hon. Mutharika made an
47
acceptance speech to the meeting. The Commission also heard evidence from Hon.
Vuwa Kaunda that it was in fact Hon. Ken Lipenga who proposed the name of Hon.
Peter Mutharika for election as Acting President of the party. The evidence before the
Commission however indicates that Hon. Peter Mutharika was elected by acclaim.
3.2.5 Evening Meeting of Cabinet Ministers
Following the earlier resolution at the morning meeting, members of Cabinet
converged again at OPC at 5 pm. The purpose of the reconvened meeting was for
Ministers to be briefed on the progress that the Ministry of Justice had made on the
court case and also on the deliberations of the DPP NGC meeting. The meeting was
initially chaired by Hon. Goodall Gondwe, who at some point left the meeting, and
Hon. Kalirani took over as chairperson.
The Commission heard that theMinister of Justice and ConstitutionalAffairs, Hon.
Chiume, called Hon. Gondwe and advised him that the Ministry was still working on
the court papers and needed more time. In his testimony, Hon. Chiume told the
Commission that the scheme by Ministers was to invoke section 85 of the Constitution
and elect Hon. Peter Mutharika as Acting President after the NGC meeting. He called
Hon. Gondwe and advised him to tell Ministers that the process of electing an Acting
President under section 85 should wait for the filing of the court papers at the court.
Hon. Gondwe informed the Commission that while in discussion at the meeting he
received a text message from the Attorney General, Justice Maxon Mbendera, SC,
advising him that what the Ministers were doing was wrong and illegal. Hon. Gondwe
told the Commission that at that point, he knew that the Minister of Justice and the
Attorney General were not going to court anymore, and thought that that was the time
to kill off the idea of pursuing the court route.
When Hon. Gondwe went into the meeting and explained the Minister of Justice’s
position that the election of the Acting President should wait for the filing of court
papers, the situation in the meeting became very difficult. The discussion in the meeting
became heated and acrimonious. Hon. Goodall Gondwe eventually left the meeting at
this point and Hon. Dr. Jean Kalirani took over as the chair of the meeting. Hon. Gondwe
informed the Commission that after leaving the meeting he went to meet theAmerican
Ambassador. He informed the Commission that in their discussion the American
Ambassador advised him that the position was clear on what was to happen in the
circumstances, which was that the Vice President, Rt. Hon. Mrs. Joyce Banda, was to
assume the office of President.
The Commission heard evidence that the mood in the meeting was intimidatory and
some Ministers accused others of being traitors. It was mentioned to the Commission
that someMinisters asserted the supremacy of the DPP resolutions and that the party had
already resolved the issue and no-one should have contrary views. A proposal to elect
Hon. Peter Mutharika as Acting President was made to the meeting. There were
disagreements on the matter in that some members wanted to proceed that way while
others resisted.Members were asked to vote on the matter. This proposal for a vote was
opposed by others who submitted that it was not right for members to be forced to vote.
In the end the proposal for a vote did not carry the day.
48
As already mentioned the Commission heard evidence that the strategy that was in
place was that once the court documents were presented to court and the Registrar
received and registered them, Cabinet was going to meet and choose anActing President
and anActing Vice President of the Republic under section 85 of the Constitution. The
meeting agreed that they were not going to leave the OPC area until they heard about
the outcome of the court application. Late in the evening the Minister of Justice and
ConstitutionalAffairs called his colleagues who were at the meeting and told them that
officers at the High Court, Lilongwe, had knocked off and that the application was going
to be filed in the morning of 7th April. It was then agreed that they should meet the
following day at 9 am at OPC to elect anActing President andActing Vice President and
once that was done, they were going to announce the death of the President.
The Ministers agreed that they should update the general public on the situation so
as to prepare the people of Malawi for the events of the following day through a press
statement. It was then resolved that a team ofMinisters be appointed to draft a statement
that was going to be read to the general public. The Ministers who were entrusted with
the task were Hon. Mrs. Patricia Kaliati, Hon. Henry Mussa, Hon. Dr. Jean Kalirani,
Hon. Nicholas Dausi and Hon. Kondwani Nankhumwa.
3.2.6 The Midnight Press Statement
As resolved by the meeting of Cabinet Ministers, five Ministers as named above
were assigned to draft a statement to the general public.
The Commission heard evidence that the team of those five Ministers met in the
small board room next to the office of the Chief Secretary at the OPC to draft the press
statement. They were joined by officials of OPC, namely, the Chief Secretary,Mr. Bright
Msaka, SC, and the Deputy Chief Secretary, Mr. Necton Mhura. They were also joined
by the President’s Legal Counsel, Mr. Allan Ntata, who also acted as Secretary to the
meeting. The Commission received evidence that the group discussed and produced the
desired statement.After the statement was drafted it was printed out in the office of the
Personal Secretary to the Chief Secretary and was then presented to the Ministers in
the main conference room. In their plenary meeting, the Ministers approved the
statement and instructed the team of Ministers who drafted the statement to proceed
and read it out to the general public.
The original arrangement was to call for a press conference at the Government’s
Central Information Office in Lilongwe. The venue was then changed to Malawi
Broadcasting Television studios in Lilongwe. The five Ministers were later joined at
MBC Television studios by Hon. Symon Vuwa Kaunda, bringing the total number to six
Ministers and the statement was read out close to midnight on 6th April 2012; hence
the reference to it in common parlance as the “Midnight Six Statement”. It was read out
by Hon. Mrs. Patricia Kaliati. The statement is hereby reproduced:
49
“PRESS STATEMENT ON STATEMENTS MADE TO THE MEDIA
ABOUT HONOURABLE JOYCE BANDA’S ELIGIBILITY TO
SUCCEED THE PRESIDENCY
The Malawi Government notes with regret the Statements made by
Honourable Joyce Banda and former President Dr. Bakili Muluzi
regarding succession to the Presidency.
Regarding the Vice Presidency and the Question of Succession to
the Presidency, the Government would like to inform the public as
follows:
1. The conduct of Honourable Joyce Banda in forming her own
opposition party precludes her from being eligible to succeed
the Presidency.
2. In this regard, statements relating to the succession made by
the former Head of State Dr. Bakili Muluzi and also echoed by
Honourable Joyce Banda herself are misleading of the true
nature of the situation.
3. As already stated, information regarding the condition of the
President will be made available to the public in due course.
4. There has been speculation in certain quarters that Parliament
will convene on Tuesday, 10th April 2012. This information is
false. The government would like to emphasize that Parliament
has absolutely no role in this matter.
The Government would like to appeal to all Malawians to remain
calm and not to listen to any misleading information coming from
anyone except official government sources.
END
MALAWI GOVERNMENT”
The gist of the statement, as can be seen, was to assert the position that the Vice
President, Rt. Hon. Mrs. Joyce Banda, was not eligible to succeed in the office of
President and that the statement she had made earlier in the day at a press conference
and that of the former President Dr. BakiliMuluzi were calculated to mislead the general
public.
When recalled to testify before the Commission on that aspect, the Chief Secretary,
Mr. BrightMsaka, SC, admitted being part of the group that drafted the statement along
with the Deputy Chief Secretary, Mr. Necton Mhura. He confirmed before the
Commission that the statement was intended to be a Government statement with due
authority of the Government although without the involvement of the Vice President34.
The preparation of the Midnight Press Statement was done only a few hours after
the Vice President held a press conference at which she read out a statement which,
50
34. The Midnight Press Statement is attached as Annex 11.
according to the testimony of the Chief Secretary, was also prepared by him or had parts
in it prepared by him as reproduced at 3.2.3 in this report. Clearly the two statements
stand in contradiction to each other.
3.2.7 Progress on the Court Case
Dr. Zolomphi Nkowani, Senior Deputy Chief State Advocate in the Attorney
General’s Office, told the Commission that he was called by the Attorney General,
JusticeMaxonMbendera, SC, on the afternoon of 6thApril 2012. TheAttorney General
told him that the President had died. He asked him what his views were looking at
section 83(4) of the Constitution which deals with the issue of vacancy in the office of
the President. Dr. Nkowani told the Commission that he advised the Attorney General
that the section was clear and that the Vice President had to assume the office as
President. TheAttorney General agreed with Dr. Nkowani’s view but told him that some
people wanted an interpretation on whether a leader of an opposition party can assume
the office of President under section 83(4) of the Constitution. Dr. Nkowani told the
Commission that he insisted to theAttorney General that the Constitution was clear on
the matter and any attempt to bring up a court case would be frivolous and vexatious.
He then asked the Attorney General where the instructions were coming from and he
was advised that Mr. Allan Ntata was going to bring the instructions.
WhenMr. Ntata came, Dr. Nkowani asked him on what basis was he bringing up the
matter.Mr. Ntata is said to have responded that the basis of the application was that the
Vice President had left the ruling party and Government and that the law did not
envisage that in those circumstances she would assume the office of President in the
event of a vacancy. Dr. Nkowani reminded Mr. Ntata that the President himself had
previously left the United Democratic Front (UDF), the party under whose ticket he
was elected, and formed his own party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Dr.
Nkowani asked Mr. Ntata why there was no need for clarification on that issue at that
time. Mr. Ntata is said to have insisted to Dr. Nkowani that the case was being brought
on grounds of public policy and further insisted that the matter be taken to court.
Dr. Nkowani askedMr. Ntata to bring him material supporting the case. It was heard
in evidence that Mr. Ntata promised to come back with the materials but never did.
Nonetheless, Dr. Nkowani proceeded to prepare the court papers. The title of the
application, to have been commenced by way of Originating Summons, read as follows:
“In the Matter of Section 83 of the Constitution; and
In the Matter of Section 85 of the Constitution; and
In the Matter of section 87 of the Constitution; and
In the Matter of Order 29 of the Rules of the Supreme Court;
and
The Courts (High Court) (Procedure on Interpretation or
Application of the Constitution) Rules 2008.
51
TheApplicant was theAttorney General and the Respondent was the Rt. Hon. Mrs.
Joyce Banda. Five documents were drafted in all under this head and these were:
(i) Notice of Originating Motion with a Certificate of Extreme Urgency.
(ii) Originating Summons.
(iii) Affidavit in Support.
(iv) Skeleton Arguments.
(v) Draft Order
While various draft court documents are attached to this Report, the Commission
finds it pertinent to reproduce the text of the Draft Order as it gives insight of the plan.
The text was as follows:
“(i) That an injunction BE and is HEREBY granted restraining
the swearing in of Right Honourable Joyce Banda, or
anybody else, as President until the matter is determined
by the Court.
(ii) That the Cabinet BE and is HEREBY authorized to elect
from among its members an Acting President and an Acting
Vice President for such a period not exceeding the period
it takes to determine the substantive matter.
(iii) That the Acting President and Acting Vice President take
office forthwith.
(iv) That the hearing of the substantive matter be expedited and,
at the latest, within 5 to 7 days from the date hereof.”.
At the time that Dr. Nkowani was drafting the documents, the evening meeting at
OPC was still in session. He was advised that the affidavit in support of the application
was going to be signed by Hon. Goodall Gondwe. He accordingly proceeded to OPC
to have the affidavits signed. Hon. Gondwe asked him what the documents were about.
After Dr. Nkowani explained what the document were about Hon. Gondwe refused
to sign them and asked Dr. Nkowani to give them to the Minister of Justice and
Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Ephraim Mganda Chiume, to sign them. Dr. Nkowani
reported accordingly to the Minister of Justice and to the Attorney General. It was the
view of theMinister of Justice that there was nothing they could do if there was nobody
willing to sign the court affidavits because he too had declined to sign them.
Dr. Nkowani told the Commission that as he was packing to go home, Mrs.
Rosemary Kanyuka, Director of Public Prosecutions, came to his office and advised
him that there were two Ministers who were ready to sign the affidavits. These were
Hon. Henry Mussa and Hon. Dr. Jean Kalirani. Mrs. Kanyuka further advised Dr.
Nkowani that she had contacted a Commissioner for Oaths, Mr. Eric Salima, to
52
commission the affidavits, and further that theAssistant Registrar, His Honour Thomson
Ligowe, was waiting for the documents.Mrs. Kanyuka further advised Dr. Nkowani to
go to MBC Television studios in Lilongwe where Hon. Mussa and Hon. Dr. Kalirani
were.
When Dr. Nkowani arrived at the MBC Television studios he noted that there was
a press conference going on. This is where the Midnight Press Statement was being
read out. He waited there for the press conference to end. After the press conference,
Dr. Nkowani gave the documents to Hon.Mussa and Hon. Dr. Kalirani who both signed
the affidavits. Hon.Mussa asked for a copy and was given one. It is the evidence of Dr.
Nkowani that after having had the documents signed, he called the Assistant Registrar
that it was late and he was going to go to court the following morning. Dr. Nkowani
reported the same to the Minister of Justice and to the Attorney General. He told the
Commission that he then switched off his phone and went home.
In his testimony, Hon. Henry Mussa admitted signing the affidavit but expressed
ignorance about the contents of the affidavit. He told the Commission that even at the
time that he was signing the affidavit, he did ask Dr. Nkowani what the documents were
about and stressed to the Commission that he merely signed the documents but did not
know the contents.
3.2.8 Absence of Minutes of Meetings of Ministers on 6th April 2012
Regarding the two meetings of the Ministers in plenary and the two committee
meetings of Ministers held on 6th April 2012, the Commission inquired about the
availability of minutes to record the deliberations and resolutions at those meetings.
These would normally be taken and prepared by officials of the Office of the President
and Cabinet led by the Chief Secretary. The Commission established from officials of
OPC that no minutes were taken of all these meetings and that no record was available
on these meetings.
3.3 EVENTS ON 7th APRIL 2012
The day 7thApril 2012 was one of the busiest days during the period.Alot of things
were simultaneously happening on the day. In this Report the Commission has singled
out the major issues and detailed them separately. In terms of timing, there were overlaps
in that some events were happening at the same time.
3.3.1 The Court Case
Early in the morning of 7th April 2012, the Attorney General, Justice Maxon
Mbendera, SC, called the Minister of Justice and ConstitutionalAffairs, Hon. Chiume,
and repeated his advice that the Constitution was clear on the matter. He informed the
Minister that he would resign if he was forced to proceed to court. The Minister agreed
with the Attorney General on the legitimacy of the court case. They resolved that the
documents were not going to be filed in court that morning or at all.
It was the evidence of the Minister of Justice that having resolved the way forward
with theAttorney General, he proceeded to advise Hon. Goodall Gondwe that the matter
53
was not going to court anymore. Hon. Chiume told the Commission that at that point
he took the stand that he, as Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, had the
ultimate authority over the matter and was not to be subjected to directions by fellow
Ministers. If they wanted to go ahead they had to find other means to pursue the matter
in court.
The Attorney General on his part told the Commission that he also sent a text to
Hon. Goodall Gondwe that morning advising him that the constitutional provision was
very clear on the matter and that he was not going to take the matter to court. On
receiving the text, Hon. Gondwe called theAttorney General and told him that he indeed
saw that there was futility in the attempt. He informed theAttorney General that he was
going to see Hon. PeterMutharika to tell him that the process they were trying to embark
on should stop.
The Attorney General then called Mrs. Rosemary Kanyuka and Dr. Nkowani
advising them that the matter was not going to court. Dr. Nkowani confirmed to the
Commission having received a message from the Attorney General advising him that
he had told Hon. PeterMutharika that we needed to be governed by constitutional order
and further instructed Dr. Nkowani to tell all concerned staff at the Ministry of Justice
not to go to the office.
Having taken that position, the Attorney General called the Chief Secretary to tell
him that he was not proceeding to court with the matter. It is recorded in the evidence
of Justice Mbendera SC that, in response, the Chief Secretary agreed with theAttorney
General’s position. He further informed the Attorney General that he was aware that
theArmy had taken a firm position to support the constitutional position. It was during
this conversation that the Chief Secretary advised the Attorney General that he was
going to announce the death of the President at 8 am that morning.
The Attorney General’s court case ended at this point.
3.3.2 Meetings at Hon. Peter Mutharika’s House
On that day, 7thApril 2012, the center of gathering was the residence of Hon. Peter
Mutharika in Area 43 in Lilongwe. A lot of people had gathered at the house. These
included Cabinet Ministers, DPP officials, Government officials and others. It is in
evidence that most Cabinet Ministers had earlier proceeded to OPC for the 9 o’clock
meeting as agreed the previous day. For those who proceeded there, they found that the
place was closed. They were however advised by colleagues upon enquiry to meet at
Hon. Peter Mutharika’s house, mostly through phone calls. Among those who came to
Hon. Peter Mutharika’s residence were some who came to offer their condolences.
Others came to continue consultations on political transition issues.
3.3.2 (a) A Delegation to the United Nations Representative
In his testimony to the Commission Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba said that it was on 6th
April 2012 when he heard that people were going to get an injunction. He told the
Commission that he got worried. He thought that even if the court outcome was to be
in favour of DPP, they will not be able to carry the people with them at that time. His
54
view was that if going to court was just a means of forcing a discussion with the Vice
President, then they needed to just go and see her. Accordingly, he called some of his
colleagues namely, Hon. Dr. Jean Kalirani, Hon. Nicholas Dausi, Hon. Kondwani
Nankhumwa and Mr. Wakuda Kamanga, the party’s Secretary General, and sold them
the idea of trying to negotiate with the Vice President. The team then called Hon. Peter
Mutharika who told them to meet him at his house the following day, 7th April 2012.
In the morning of 7th April 2012 Dr. Ntaba, Hon. Dr. Kalirani and Hon.
Nankhumwa, joined byMr. KalanziMbewe, Regional Governor for DPP for the Centre,
went to Hon. Peter Mutharika’s residence and briefed him about the proposal. He
accepted the idea of having a negotiated deal with the Vice President. The meeting
suggested that the team should approach intermediaries, such as the United Nations
Resident Representative inMalawi,Mr. Richard Dictus, to ask them to pass the message
to the Vice President that they were not going ahead with the injunction case and would
want to discuss how the country can move ahead. The four metMr. Dictus at his house.
However, Mr. Dictus did not give the team an immediate response. He advised them
that he needed to consult with UN Headquarters in NewYork before doing anything on
the matter. The team then left and went back to Hon. Peter Mutharika’s house. Mr.
Dictus never came back to them as the Commission noted that events of that day moved
very fast ending with the swearing in of the Vice President as President.
3.3.2 (b) Attempt to Give Instructions to a Private Lawyer
The Commission heard evidence that at the house of Hon. PeterMutharika, the issue
of proceeding to court with the case that the Attorney General had declined to take to
court was tabled again. Ameeting was convened at the house where it was agreed that
they should still proceed and get an injunction against the swearing in of the Vice
President pending court interpretation of the Constitution on the matter. The Deputy
Chief Secretary,Mr. NectonMhura was part of this discussion. They resolved that they
should retain a private practice lawyer to take up the matter. Accordingly, Hon. Henry
Mussa contacted Mr. Tamando Chokotho, a private practice lawyer.
When Mr. Chokotho reported at the house, he was briefed about the matter. He told
the Commission that he advised the meeting that it was not possible for him to take
instructions on the matter because, among other things, it was too late. He told the
Commission that he further advised the meeting that in view of the so called
“Injunctions Law” (now repealed), which required three days prior notice to
Government to apply to court for an injunction against the Government, he did not see
any possibility that the court could quickly rush and issue such injunction ex-parte. The
Commission however is aware that this law was not operational at that time due to an
order of stay that some citizens obtained from the High Court against it.
Mr. Chokotho told the Commission that he further advised them that he was not
really convinced about the issue of the Vice President’s resignation since Parliament
approved funds for the office of the Vice President including her own emoluments which
meant that the office was not vacant. He told the Commission that he finally advised
them that they could let the Vice President get sworn in and challenge her eligibility
later.
55
Mr. Chokotho told the Commission that his response did not really go down well
with most people at the meeting but he stood firm.
According to the evidence of Hon. Goodall Gondwe, among the people who had
gathered at the house of Hon. PeterMutharika on the morning of 7thApril 2012 was the
Chief Justice, His Lordship Justice LovemoreMunlo, SC. He noted that he was dressed
casually, in a pair of jeans and a shirt. Hon. Gondwe told the Commission that the Chief
Justice did not take part in the discussions that were going on in the other room. He sat
in a different room, the sitting room.
It was the evidence of Mr. Kalanzi Mbewe, DPP Regional Governor for the Centre,
that on the morning of 7th April he and some of his colleagues had a meeting at Hon.
Peter Mutharika’s house and that he had seen some judges around. He could not
however mention the names of the judges.
On their part, all judges who appeared before the Commission denied in their
testimonies ever gathering at any place either to hear a case or to swear any person into
office except during the official swearing in ceremony at Parliament as the presiding
officer, in the case of the Chief Justice, or as part of a procession of that ceremony in
the case of the other judges.
The Commission noted that in his evidence to the Commission, the Chief Justice did
not mention having visited the house of Hon. Peter Mutharika on 7th April 2012 as
claimed by Hon. Gondwe. In his evidence the Deputy Chief Secretary,Mr.Mhura, told
the Commission that he did not see the Chief Justice or any judge at the time that he was
at Hon. Peter Mutharika’s house on that morning of 7th April 2012. This was
corroborated by the private lawyer Mr. Chokotho who told the Commission that he did
not see any judge, including the Chief Justice, at the residence of Hon. Peter Mutharika
that morning when he was there.
The Commission however established that in an interview aired on Zodiak
Broadcasting Station on 15th July 2012, in their programme Tiuzeni Zoona, which the
Commission sourced for the purposes of the Inquiry, Hon. Peter Mutharika confirmed
in that interview that the Chief Justice visited Hon. Mutharika’s house twice to offer
condolences as a family friend. The first time he came to the house there were only a
few people, five or so. The second time he went to the house there were a lot of people
at the house including Cabinet Ministers, politicians and other people most of whom
were sitting outside the house. He explained in the interview that he did not have a
meeting with the Chief Justice.
3.3.3 Announcement of Death
The issue of the delay in announcing the death of the President exercised the
Commission. From the evidence gathered, it was clear to all senior officers in
Government and senior members of the party, DPP, that the President had died on 5th
April 2012. It was also clear from the evidence that at the DPP NGC meeting members
whispered amongst one another about the death of the President and about the events
that were taking place that time.
56
It was heard in evidence that on the afternoon of 6thApril 2012 the Chief Secretary,
Mr. Bright Msaka, SC, called the former First Lady and advised her that it was his
intention to formally announce the death of the President. She however responded by
advising him that she had no problem with the announcement but that such matters
should be referred to Hon. Peter Mutharika. The Chief Secretary told the Commission
that he called Hon. Mutharika endlessly but he did not pick his phone. He then sent a
text to Hon. Goodall Gondwe who agreed that the announcement be made. According
to the Chief Secretary, Hon. Gondwe, advised the Chief Secretary to make the
announcement the following day, 7th April 2012 at 9am.
When the Commission asked the Chief Secretary why he did not immediately
announce the death of the President he responded that it was not his responsibility and
that is why he anticipated that Cabinet Ministers would first be informed of the
President’s death during the meeting of 6th April 2012 by Hon. Goodall Gondwe, the
presiding Minister. The evidence of the Deputy Chief Secretary, Mr. Necton Mhura,
was however to the contrary in that he told the Commission that OPC was the office
charged with such responsibility. In his testimony, Hon. Peter Mutharika told the
Commission that the family had nothing to do with the issue of the official
announcement of death. He submitted that the matter was in the hands of OPC. He told
the Commission that he did know why OPC decided to announce the death of the
President on 7th April, 2012.
On the other hand Hon. Goodall Gondwe told the Commission that on the evening
of 6thApril 2012 while at the meeting ofMinisters at OPC Hon. PeterMutharika came
over and told him that he was having problems with the South African Government.
He explained that the South African Government was asking why Malawi was not
announcing the death of the President. The South Africans went further and told Hon.
Mutharika that if the Government of Malawi was not going to announce the death of
President Mutharika, then President Jacob Zuma of South Africa was going to do it.
Hon. Goodall Gondwe and Hon. Peter Mutharika agreed that the announcement be
made the following morning. This was in sharp contrast to the evidence of Hon. Peter
Mutharika.
Hon. Gondwe told the Commission that in the early hours of 7thApril 2012, he got
a text from the Chief Secretary asking him about the way forward. He then advised the
Chief Secretary that the announcement be made in the morning by 9 am. This was in
contrast to the evidence of the Chief Secretary who told the Commission that he sent the
text in the afternoon of 6th April 2012.
The announcement of the death of the President was indeed made at 8 am on the
morning of 7th April 2012 in a statement by OPC signed by the Chief Secretary Mr.
Bright Msaka, SC, and aired on MBC Radio and Television and also on private radio
stations.
3.3.4 Discussions between the Speaker of Parliament and the Chief Justice
In his testimony to the Commission, the Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Henry
Chimunthu Banda, told the Commission that in view of the confusion that was going
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around on 6thApril 2012, he called the Chief Justice as head of the Judiciary and invited
him to his house. Accordingly, they met at Hon. Chimunthu Banda’s house around
5.30pm. At the house, they had a discussion about what had happened and both were
concerned about the lack of an official announcement on the matter. Hon. Chimunthu
Banda told the Commission that he asked the Chief Justice on the role of the Speaker
of Parliament in the event that the President was indeed dead and the Chief Justice’s
response was that the Speaker of Parliament had no role to play. The Speaker told the
Commission that what the Chief Justice said confirmed what was also his own view.
It was Hon. Chimunthu Banda’s evidence that before the Chief Justice left his house,
Hon. Chimunthu Banda got a call from the Minister of Justice, Hon. Chiume, advising
him that he had been tasked by Cabinet to draw up court papers and go to court. Hon.
Chiume told Hon. Chimunthu Banda that he was not comfortable with the task assigned
to him. Hon. Chimunthu Banda shared this information with the Chief Justice and they
parted ways.
On the morning of 7th April 2012, the Speaker finally got confirmation from the
Chief Secretary that the President had died and that Cabinet was going to make a
decision on the way forward. The Chief Secretary further indicated to Hon. Chimunthu
Banda that he was on his way to the Vice President’s residence with other officials.
An hour after his conversation with the Chief Secretary, Hon. Chimunthu Banda
got a call from the Vice President asking him to join her at a press conference that she
had called to take place that morning at her residence in Area 12. He told the
Commission that he explained to the Vice President that his view was that he should not
go at that point to see her and requested for a time after the press conference. The Vice
President accordingly gave him an appointment for 11 am.
Hon. Chimunthu Banda told the Commission that he saw it proper that he should be
in the company of the Chief Justice when going to see the Vice President as heads of
the two other arms of Government. He contacted the Chief Justice and informed him that
he had been given an appointment for 11 am to meet the Vice President and suggested
to the Chief Justice that they should go together. He stated that they were going to meet
her for two reasons, firstly to offer their condolences to her on the death of the President
and secondly to present themselves to her as heads of the other two arms of Government.
The Chief Justice agreed to the Speaker’s suggestion. This conversation took place
around 8 am.
Hon. Chimunthu Banda told the Commission that between 8 am and 20 minutes to
10 am the Speaker called the Chief Justice more than once and the Chief Justice gave
no indication that he was not going to meet the Vice President. They even agreed where
to meet on the way to the Vice President’s residence in Area 12 in Lilongwe.
The Speaker told the Commission that some 5 minutes before 11:00 am, the Chief
Justice called him and informed him that there was going to be contestation regarding
the eligibility of the Vice President to take over as President. As Chief Justice, he
decided not to go and meet the Vice President as earlier agreed because that would have
been seen as a thumb of approval and that he would rather take a neutral position.
Accordingly, the Speaker proceeded alone to see the Vice President.
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In his testimony to the Commission the Chief Justice confirmed having agreed to go
and see the Vice President together with Hon. Chimunthu Banda earlier that day. He
explained that the purpose of the visit was to go and congratulate her. However, when
he reflected on the matter further his instincts guided him that the best order of things
would be to offer his congratulations to her after she had been sworn in as President. He
explained to the Commission that with the rumours that were circulating around earlier
about reservations to her swearing, he was convinced that as head of the Judiciary he
had an important and solemn duty to swear in the next President. He therefore told the
Commission that on that basis he called the Speaker and advised him that he would not
go with him to see the Vice President.
3.3.5 Press Conference by the Vice President
After the official announcement of the death of the President had been made by
OPC the Vice President scheduled a press conference at her official residence in Area
12, Lilongwe. At this point, some Ministers and other politicians began repositioning
themselves. It was heard in evidence that some people who were gathered at Hon. Peter
Mutharika’s house in Area 43, Lilongwe, started leaving the house, going to the Vice
President’s residence. It was heard in evidence that this did not please some DPP
functionaries gathered at Hon. Peter Mutharika’s house. Most notably, Hon. Kaliati is
reported to have ordered that the gate to the house be closed and that nobody should
leave the house. SomeMinisters who were not at the house that time made their way to
Area 12. These included Hon. Sidik Mia, Hon. Ken Lipenga, Hon. Catherine Gotani
Hara, Hon. Ephraim Chiume and Hon. John Bande.
At that point, the Chief Secretary, Mr. Bright Msaka, SC, advised the Attorney
General about the impending press conference and the two went to the Vice President’s
residence inArea 12. TheMDF Commander, General Henry Odillo, was also informed
about the Vice President’s press conference and he proceeded to attend.
General Odillo told the Commission that when he arrived at the Vice President’s
residence he noted a lapse of security at the residence. He immediately deployed the
Military Police at the house and also issued an order to deploy Military Police at the
strategic places such as Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (Radio and Television).
While at the Vice President’s residence in Area 12 the two top officials namely the
Chief Secretary and the MDF Commander tried to call the Inspector General of Police
Mr. Mukhito. The Commission heard that he was reluctant about coming to the press
conference. General Odillo informed the Commission that Mr. Mukhito remarked that
the Vice President was not the Commander-in-Chief hence he did not see the need to go
there. According to evidence before the Commission he only agreed to go to the Vice
President’s residence when the Attorney General asked the Chief Secretary and the
Commander to tell the Inspector General that he too, the Attorney General, was there.
The Inspector General then appeared after a short time. TheAttorney General informed
the Commission that, prior to that, the Inspector General had been asking him about
the progress of the court case challenging the ascendancy of the Vice President to the
office of President which theAttorney General had earlier decided not to proceed with.
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On his part, the Inspector General told the Commission that he took a bit of time to
arrive at the press conference because his official vehicle had gone for service. He
therefore had to arrange alternative transport which was the reason that delayed him.
The press conference took place at the appointed time.Among other things the Vice
President announced that there was to be a Cabinet meeting that afternoon from 2 pm.
It is in evidence that when the announcement for a Cabinet meeting was made, there
were immediate discussions at the house of Hon. Peter Mutharika as to whether the
DPPMinisters should attend or not. It was eventually agreed that they should proceed
and attend the Cabinet meeting.
3.3.6 The Cabinet Meeting and the Swearing of the Vice President
The Chief Secretary told the Commission that on the morning of 7thApril 2012, he
called the Chief Justice and advised him that the ceremony to swear the Vice President
as President was to take place at 2 pm in the afternoon. The Chief Justice however asked
the Chief Secretary if he had spoken to Hon. Goodall Gondwe. He further advised him
that he would not want to go for the swearing in ceremony because he understood that
there was a dispute and he did not want to be seen to be taking sides. The Chief Secretary
then queried the Chief Justice if there were any papers that had been filed in court to that
effect.
According to the Chief Secretary, they had a lengthy discussion on the matter but the
Chief Justice maintained to the Chief Secretary that there was a dispute. It was in the
evidence of the Attorney General that while at the house of the Vice President it
appeared that communication was sent to the Chief Justice. However, the Chief Justice
is said to have answered that the Judiciary did not want to be compromised in the matter
in view of the dispute he was aware of.
The Chief Secretary then consulted with theAttorney General and the two suggested
to the Vice President to call for a Cabinet meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to
discuss arrangements for the funeral of the President and the swearing in of the Vice
President as President. The Cabinet meeting was held from 2 pm and was presided over
by the Vice President. All members attended the Cabinet meeting except Hon. George
Chaponda, who was out of the country, Hon. Reene Kachere, who was reported to be
unwell, and Hon. Peter Mutharika in view of the announced death of the President, his
elder brother.
At the Cabinet meeting all members of the Cabinet were given a chance to speak.
They each and individually pledged their support to the Vice President. They rescinded
their earlier decision to contest her ascendancy to the presidency. They all agreed that
the Vice President should be sworn in as President on that day. During the Cabinet
meeting, a funeral committee was appointed by the Vice President. She appointed Hon.
HenryMussa,Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, to be chairperson
of the Committee.
It is in evidence that after the Cabinet meeting the Chief Secretary asked theAttorney
General to inform the Chief Justice about the resolutions of the Cabinet meeting on the
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swearing in of the Vice President. This was in view of the earlier impediment in the
view of the Chief Justice relating to a potential dispute in court. The Attorney General
called the Chief Justice and advised him of the Cabinet resolutions.
It was in evidence that earlier in the day, after the press conference by the Vice
President, the Attorney General called the Acting Registrar, His Honour Mr. Michael
Tembo, and asked him to arrange to bring the Presidential Oath Book which is kept at
the Supreme Court in Blantyre. TheActing Registrar was surprised in that usually they
do get written notification from the Office of the President and Cabinet on such issues.
He nevertheless proceeded and got the Oath Book and the Holy Bible and started off for
Lilongwe in the company of the Registrar, Her Honour Mrs. Dorothy NyaKaunda
Kamanga. On the way His Honour Tembo received a call from the Chief Justice, His
Lordship Lovemore Munlo, SC, asking him to go to his official residence in Blantyre
and get his ceremonial dress. The Chief Justice did not at that point have his ceremonial
dress with him in Lilongwe because, as earlier indicated, he had just come back from
his cancelled trip to Tanzania. The Registrar told the Chief Justice that they had already
started off for Lilongwe. That was when arrangements were then made for the Chief
Justice to use the judicial ceremonial dress of the Attorney General, Justice Maxon
Mbendera, he had as judge, which is what happened.
It was the Chief Justice’s evidence that on the day he did not speak with the Chief
Secretary at all on the issue of swearing in of the Vice President, let alone having a
conversation with him on the issue of the court dispute. He strongly stated to the
Commission that the allegations that he had resisted the swearing in of the Vice
President were all but lies.
The Chief Justice told the Commission that he only spoke to the Attorney General
and advised him that as Chief Justice he had a duty to protect the impartiality of the
Judiciary. TheAttorney General then informed him that it had been decided to swear the
Vice President into the office of President of the Republic of Malawi.
The swearing ceremony took place from 4 pm on 7th April 2012 at Parliament
Building. It was presided over by the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice told the
Commission that he then congratulated the Vice President after swearing her in as
President.
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CHAPTER 4
EVIDENCE TAKEN REGARDING THE ALLEGED LOOTING AND
MISSING GOVERNMENT PROPERTYAT THE STATE HOUSE
The Terms of Reference of the Inquiry mandated the Commission to look at various
issues that were connected to the death of the former President as well as issues
connected with the transition of State power following his death. The Commission noted
among other things that during the period there was a lot of public speculation, some
of it reported in newspapers, regarding the issue of looting and unauthorized removal
of Government property at State House. The Commission therefore decided to inquire
about this state of affairs.
The Guard Commander, Mr. Duncan Mwapasa, testified that when the President
was flown to SouthAfrica for medical attention he, as usual, issued instructions to State
House police and security that they should secure and guard the State House premises,
especially the President’s private residence, since both the President and First Lady
were not around. He told the Commission that he made sure that security at the State
House premises was maintained. He further informed the Commission that as far as he
was aware nothing belonging to the Government left the premises by way of looting or
theft. He strongly denied that there was looting at State House and submitted to the
Commission that he had also just read about the issue in the papers.
The Deputy Guard Commander, Mr. Jimmy Forster Gama, told the Commission
that there was a lot of private property belonging to the late President that was kept at
State House. He specifically mentioned that there was property belonging to Bineth
Trust, the President’s Silver Grey Foundation and the SafeMotherhood Initiative ran by
the First Lady, Madam Callista Mutharika. He further submitted that there were also a
lot of gifts that the President and Madam Callista Mutharika had received during their
wedding in April 2010. These were stacked in the storeroom that had been specially
created within the administration section of the State House.
Mr. Gama told the Commission that during that period he was assigned as the in
charge of security at State House. He told the Commission that in that capacity he made
sure that what was taken out of State House was not Government property. He also told
the Commission that in the warehouses and storerooms indicated above, there were
personal effects, gifts, computers and other items which the late President and Madam
Callista Mutharika personally owned. He further stated that the President had his
personal gym equipment that he bought using his own funds.Apart from these items and
the personal effects of the late President, the rest was Government property.
Mr. Gama told the Commission that at State House there used to be the normal
Police Security and the Personal Security that the President had. He recalled that at
some point, the Director General of State Residences, Mr. Edward Sawerengera,
authorized the President’s personal security aides to go and remove some personal
belongings of the President which were in the residential quarters of the State House.
He indicated that most of these items were packed in suitcases as they were being
removed. He told the Commission that he did not know the contents of the suitcases but
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assumed that it was mainly clothing and other items belonging to the President and the
First Lady. He explained that there were allegations that some of the items in the
suitcases were money which belonged to the President. He explained that all these items
were being taken from the house by the President’s close security aides some of whom
were his relations. He explained that this was beyond the Police. He however stressed
to the Commission that the property that was being removed was personal property and
not Government property.
In his evidence to the Commission on this matter, the Director of State Residences,
Mr. Edward Sawerengera, submitted that it is not true that there was looting at State
House. He explained that on 6th April 2012 he was asked by the President’s relation,
who was also his security aide, Mr. Chimwemwe Kajawo, if he could go to the
residential section of the State House to take some clothing for the President. Mr.
Sawerengera indicated that there was no way that one could simply just walk into the
President’s private residence and take out property without his (Mr. Sawerengera’s)
approval or the approval of the Guard Commander. He further stated that the procedure
also involved going through the housekeeper,Mrs. ElizabethMvinda, before one takes
away anything from the house. He submitted to the Commission that the media reports
were sensational and did not present the true events on this issue.
Mr. Chimwemwe Kajawo told the Commission that he was the Personal Assistant
to the President responsible for special duties. He stated that he was a civil servant and
was responsible for the President’s security and personal issues. He explained that he
was related to the President in that he was the President’s nephew, on the President’s
side. He explained that in his duties, he reported to the Guard Commander, Mr.
Mwapasa.
He told the Commission his recount of the President’s illness and evacuation to
SouthAfrica. He told the Commission that he heard about the President’s death through
the Director General of State Residences, Mr. Sawerengera, in the afternoon of 6th
April, 2012.
On the issue of removing items from the State House,Mr. Kajawo explained that he
went to the residential suite twice. On the first occasion, he was advised that the First
Lady had asked for some items for the President in South Africa. He therefore
accompanied these people to go and collect the things from the President’s private suite
within State House. He accompanied the team that had been sent to collect the personal
items because for one to go to the residence one needed to pass through the VVIP
lounge. For one to pass through the VVIP lounge, one had to be accompanied by an
authorized person.Among all the staff, he was the only one authorized to go through the
VVIP lounge. He explained that the Deputy Director General of State Residences, Dr.
Charles Thupi, was one of the people present on this occasion. He recalled that the
housekeeper was also there. He explained that on this occasion what were collected
clothing and other personal items for the President and the First Lady. It was only one
suitcase that was collected. He explained that at the time, it was not yet known that the
President had died.
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Mr. Kajawo stated that on the second occasion, he had received a phone call from
the First Lady in South Africa advising him that as he was going to South Africa, he
needed to bring some other items, in his own words ‘special things’. So he proceeded
to the residence in the company of the Deputy Director General, Dr. Charles Thupi, the
housekeeper, Mrs. Elizabeth Mvinda, and two other persons he could not remember.
He explained that from the residence he simply collected one suitcase for the First Lady.
He further explained that on this second occasion, he was aware that the President had
died through information from Mr. Sawerengera. This was on 7th April 2012.
When the Commission asked Mr. Kajawo about the alleged suitcases and boxes
coming out of State House, he explained that after the information that the President had
died, there was panic among the people at State House. He explained that there were
rumours that the incoming President was going to move straightaway into State House.
People panicked and started moving the President’s and the First Lady’s personal
belongings and property from the State House. He explained that the housekeepers, and
other people he could not remember, were the ones moving the belongings. He
explained that he did not know the exact contents of the boxes and suitcases that were
being moved by the other people neither their destination.
Mr. Kajawo stressed to the Commission that he only went to the residence twice to
collect the two suitcases, one on each occasion, once before he heard of the President’s
death and once after he had heald of the death. He stated that on the first occasion he
personally packed the suitcase because he had the privilege of going into the President’s
bedroom, and that he knew exactly what clothing to pick because he knew the
President’s clothing.
It was the evidence of Mr. Ronneck Nkaliyalinga, the Presidential waiter, that he
normally had a chance to chat with the President. He explained that on the day that the
President fell ill and flown to South Africa, the First Lady locked the rooms and took
the keys. He recalled that after two days, some people came to the house and said there
was need to take some clothes to SouthAfrica. He told the Commission that the people
who came to collect the clothes were the President’s PersonalAssistant for security,Mr.
Kajawo, the housekeeper, Mrs. Mvinda, and a security officer he could not remember
his name. He explained that because the room had been locked and the keys taken, a
carpenter was called to force the door open. He told the Commission that the carpenter
indeed came and opened the doors. He explained that neither he nor the carpenter
entered the room. The people who were assigned packed the personal belongings of the
President and the First Lady.
Mr. Nkaliyalinga explained that he was one of the people who were removing the
personal items. He told the Commission that there were security personnel around and
mentioned thatMr. Chimwemwe Kajawo was one of the security detail around. He also
noted that there was a Mrs. Mulewa and another security person from the Police. He
explained that there was a carpenter, whose name he had forgotten, who came and forced
open the doors to the rooms.
He indicated that on this day there were two or three groups of people removing the
items from the house. He told the Commission that at the residence, there was a room
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that they never knew what was inside. He explained that on this day, Mr. Kajawo, Mr.
Emmanuel Phiri, who was also a waiter and the President’s nephew, and Mr. Gideon,
the President’s Personal Assistant responsible for security, and a security officer went
and forced this room open. When the room was forced open, the security officer
retreated and the three people went into the room. Mr. Nkaliyalinga explained that he
suspected that there must have been money in the room.
It was the evidence of Mr. Sonary Kamphango, a carpenter at State House, that he
was called on 7th April 2012 to the living quarters of the State House to force open
some doors. He recalled that he was taken to the President’s side of the house where he
forced open three doors. He was in the company of three people whose names he did
not know but he knew that they were part of the security detail of the President. He
stated that some of them were the President’s relatives. He explained that the rooms
that were forced open were in the President’s bedroom. He explained that he was not
able to see what these people were removing from the rooms. He explained that he had
to use his carpentry tools to force open the doors by way of breaking the locks. He told
the Commission that he did not break the doors. He explained that he also similarly
opened one door in the First Lady’s wing. He told the Commission these locks were
replaced by new ones prior to the occupation of the living quarters by the new President.
He further explained that as some were packing the items on the President’s side of
the suite, others were doing the same in the First Lady’s section. He explained that there
were security personnel throughout the time that they were packing the items. He
explained that this happened on Saturday, 7th April 2012.
The Deputy Director of State Residences, Dr. Charles Thupi, told the Commission
that on 7th April 2012, in the morning, the Guard Commander, Mr. Duncan Mwapasa,
and the Director General of State Residences, Mr. Edward Sawerengera, told him that
it appeared that the new President was going to be sworn into office on that day. They
further told him that the late President’s family had told them that it appeared that once
the new President is sworn into office, she was coming straight to State House. The late
President’s family therefore requested that they should remove the personal property of
the late President.
Dr. Thupi told the Commission that when he went up to the President’s residence,
he found that some security personnel were already there and were about to start
removing the items. He asked them if the First lady was aware of the arrangement. As
they were discussing the matter, the First Lady called Dr. Thupi and told him that she
had received a call informing her that security personnel had been advised to remove
the President’s and her personal effects. She advised Dr. Thupi that, among the items
they were to remove, was a wrist watch, which she described as a very expensive watch,
that the President had bought her as a wedding gift. She asked Dr. Thupi to ensure that
this wrist watch is well secured. Dr. Thupi told the Commission that since he did not
know which particular wrist watch it was, he made sure that all her wrist watches were
put in one bag which would be well secured. Dr. Thupi clearly indicated that all these
were purely personal effects.
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The Commission then wanted to find out the exact role that Dr. Thupi played in the
removal of the property of the late President and the former First Lady from the private
residence. He explained that his role was purely administrative. He told the Commission
that he simply wanted to make sure that the property that left the residence was not
Government property. He indicated further that at the time that these items were being
removed from the residence, there was the late President’s relation, whom he had
forgotten his name, and there was alsoMr. Chimwemwe Kajawo,Mr. Dabble Dissi and
the housekeeper, Mrs. Elizabeth Mvinda. Dr. Thupi told the Commission that he was
advised that all the property was being taken to the residence of the President’s younger
brother, Hon. Peter Mutharika in Area 43.
The Commission further asked Dr. Thupi to explain the rumours that were widely
circulating to the effect that there were bags of money which were taken away from
State House. He explained that according to him, what was taken from the residence was
purely personal property such as clothes, jewellery and watches and he could see that
the things were indeed very expensive or of very high value. He explained that he
however remembered that at some point, Mr. Chimwemwe Kajawo told him that there
was a money-safe in the residence and that he had sought approval of the First Lady to
remove the safe. He explained that he understood that the safe and other items were
taken by the said Mr. Kajawo. He further explained that most of the things that were
taken during that period were wedding gifts to the President and the First Lady and
items that belonged to Bineth Trust. These were in the warehouse within State House.
Dr. Thupi further explained that Mr. Malemia, the State House internal auditor, was
present as these things were being taken out and emphasized that no Government
property was taken from house.
Mrs. ElizabethMvinda, the State House residence housekeeper told the Commission
that she was the one in charge of all the services of the residential section of State House.
She explained that she was responsible as housekeeper for that section and nobody
would get into the section without her permission. She stressed that nobody, whether he
or she had a State House badge, could just walk into that section.
Mrs. Mvinda confirmed to the Commission that they did receive a call from the
First Lady while she was in South Africa requesting for clothes. She told the
Commission that they got access to the room to get the clothes and packed them in a
suitcase. She explained that they used a key to open the door to the rooms and there was
no need for a carpenter. She further stated that they only packed the things in one
suitcase and that the watch that had been referred to by the First Lady was the one that
the First Lady received from the President as a wedding gift.
It was the evidence of Mr. Robert Malemia, State House internal auditor, that his
duty at State House was, among other things, to take a verification of all the assets in
all State Residences. He explained that on Saturday, 7th April 2012, after the
announcement was made that there was going to be the swearing in of the new President,
there was panic at the State House especially on the part of members of staff who were
related to the late President. He told the Commission that on that day, he was in his
office and did not know that the President’s personal property was being removed from
State House. He only found out when he went out of his office. He found people busy
66
removing property from the premises mainly belonging to Bineth Trust, EthelMutharika
Foundation and for the Safe Motherhood Initiative and items which the President and
the First Lady had received as their wedding gifts. He explained that when he saw this
happening, he checked with the Deputy Director General of State Residences, Dr.
Charles Thupi. He explained that Dr. Thupi advised him that the Director General, Mr.
Sawerengera, had instructed him that all items belonging to the late President be
removed from State House premises because soon after the swearing ceremony the new
President was coming straight to State House.
Mr. Malemia explained to the Commission that he tried to reason with the late
President’s relatives advising them that it was not possible that the new President was
going to come straight to State House after being sworn in because there was going to
be a period of national mourning of the late President. He tried to stop them from
removing the items at that point but he did not succeed. He explained to the Commission
that having failed to stop the relatives of the President from removing the personal items
he started taking record of all the items that were leaving the State House.
Mr. Malemia told the Commission that there was a situation where the President’s
relatives wanted to remove some television screens from State House thinking that they
were the late President’s personal property but he stopped them and advised them that
those screens were Government property. Having put the recording process in place,
he allowed the family members to take the late President’s and former First Lady’s
property from State House.Mr.Malemia explained that some of the property was taken
to the late President’s house in Area 3, some to Bunda and some to Hon. Peter
Mutharika’s residence inArea 43. Some clothes were taken to the late President’s Ndata
Farm House in Thyolo.
Mr. Malemia confirmed that he took record of most of the property that had left
State House during that time. He explained that he did not manage to take record of the
property that was in the room in which the gifts that the President received at his
wedding were kept. He further stated that it was difficult for him to take record of the
property that was taken from the residential section of State House because his identity
card was only applicable in the administration department and did not go beyond that.
He explained however that according to his records, no Government property or item,
whether in the residential section or in the administration section, went missing during
the period. He indicated that his inventory was in order and that no Government property
went missing at State House. He explained that the security at State House would not
allow anything like looting to occur there.
Mr.Malemia explained that most of the people who were spreading the stories about
looting had heard from a third or fourth person and did not have first hand facts. He
closed his testimony by strongly stating that no Government property was looted at
State House during the period.
The Commission also heard testimony from the President’s Personal Secretary,Mrs.
Flora Muhara. She told the Commission that she arranged for the removal from the
President’s office of a number of personal effects which included documents such as
bank statements and motor vehicle registration certificates.
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The Commission was told by the Guard Commander, Mr. Duncan Mwapasa, that
when speculations about the looting of Government property surfaced, the Director
General of State Residences, Mr. Edward Sawerengera, Hon. Peter Mutharika and Mr.
Mwapasa himself met to discuss the matter. These discussions were held with due
consultation with the First Lady. Mr. Mwapasa told the Commission that the meeting
resolved that all personal property in the State House were supposed to be removed
with the permission of either the First Lady or the President’s brother, Hon. Peter
Mutharika.
In response to a question from the Commission, the Guard Commander told the
Commission that the late President and his brother, Hon. Peter Mutharika were very
close. He explained that they were so close that he, the Guard Commander, recalled
that the President’s Personal Secretary had previously mentioned that the President did
instruct her to give the President’s Will to Hon. Peter Mutharika if anything happened
to the President. Mr. Mwapasa confirmed that the President did have aWill which was
kept in the custody of the President’s Personal Secretary, Mrs. Flora Muhara, and was
to be handed to the President’s brother, Hon. Peter Mutharika, in the event of the
President’s death.
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CHAPTER 5
EVIDENCE TAKEN REGARDING UNUSUAL OCCURENCES AND OTHER
ISSUES PRIOR TO THE DEATH OF THE PRESIDENT
The Commission noted that prior to the death of the President there had been a
number of occurrences and issues that may have exerted pressure on the late President.
The Commission sought to examine these occurrences and issues and consider whether
they may have had a bearing on the death of the President given that the President died
sudden death.
The Commission noted that there had been a lot of speculation regarding the
prophecy made by some religious person of the Christian faith from Nigeria called
Temitope Balogun Joshua, commonly known as T.B. Joshua, regarding the death of a
State President inAfrica. This speculation was heightened by T.B. Joshua himself when,
during one of his prayer sessions, he flashed a letter which he had received from
President Mutharika. In flashing the letter T.B. Joshua did not however display the
contents.
It was also well known that some few months prior to his death the President
travelled to Nigeria on unannounced visit. While the vist was kept under wraps in
Malawi it, however, became clear that the President had indeed travelled to Nigeria.
This visit was published on the State House website of the Nigerian Government
showing the picture of President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria welcoming President
Bingu wa Mutharika. Due to the manner in which the President left the country and
refutations by the then Minister of Information, Hon. Patricia Kaliati, regarding the
absence of the President from Malawi, there were widespread speculations that the
President had undertaken the trip to Nigeria to meet T.B. Joshua in connection with the
prophecy. The Commission sought to inquire about the interaction between the President
and T.B. Joshua.
The Commission noted further that during this period, there was heightened activity
by civil society groups working together with the umbrella religious pressure group on
governance known as the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) in putting pressure on the
President and the Government to change course on governance issues.
Three weeks before the President was taken ill on 5th April, PAC organized what
was termed as an all inclusive conference of its membership, civil society organizations,
the academia, political parties and other pressure groups on governance. The conference
was held for two days from 14th to 15th March 2012 at the Conference Hall of the
Limbe Cathedral of the Catholic Church in Blantyre. At the end of the conference
participants drew up a petition of the issues to be presented to the President. It was
understood that the petition made demands of what the President and the Government
were to address and gave an ultimatum that either the President was to resign within 60
days or he was to hold a referendum on the popularity of his administration within 90
days of the presentation of the petition. PAC further warned Government that failure to
comply with the ultimatum was going to result in PAC organizing nationwide
demonstrations against the President’s administration.
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On the other hand, the churches and religious communities and groupings were also
giving unprecedented pressure to the President through the issuance of pastoral letters
critical of the Government on governance issues.
During the period, it was a well known fact that the Malawi Government relations
with some of Malawi’s neighbouring countries were at an all time low. Further, the
Government’s relations with some of key bilateral donors to Malawi had soured.
Relations with major multilateral financial institutions, such as theWorld Bank and the
InternationalMonetary Fund (IMF), were not good either. TheWorld Bank and the IMF
had withdrawn their programmes for the country. These developments severely affected
Government operations.
Diplomatic relations with Malawi’s former colonial power, the United Kingdom,
were severely strained whenMalawi deported the British High Commisioner toMalawi,
for a leaked diplomatic memo to his Foreign Ministry critical of the President on
governance issues, and the British Government responded by expelling Malawi’s High
Commissioner to the United Kingdom.
During the period the country was also experiencing unprecedented economic crises.
There was acute shortage of foreign exchange in the country which severely affected
operations of businesses. This impacted very heavily on the importation of goods and
services.
During the period there were severe shortages of fuel supply, sometimes for
extended periods, resulting in long queues of motor vehicles at filling stations
throughout the country. The prices of commodities were soaring and it was clear that
Malawians were facing a lot of economic hardships.
The Commission decided not to ignore these occurrences and issues and heard
evidence from those who were closely serving the President to consider if these
occurrences and issues could have put pressure on the President.
5.1 PROPHECY BY T.B JOSHUA AND INTERACTION BETWEEN THE
PRESIDENTAND T.B. JOSHUA
The Commission took cognizance of the fact that there was a prophecy from T.B.
Joshua, prophesying the death of anAfrican President. This prophecy was aired on T.B.
Joshua’s Emmanuel TV on 5th February 2012 and repeated on 1st April 2012, with an
indication that the concerned President was not from the West Africa region, and thus
directing the speculation to other regions of Africa including Southern Africa. This
raised speculation about which President in our region was going to die. In Malawi
there were media reports that following this prophecy Hon.YunusMussa,MP, and also
Government Minister and a senior member of the ruling party, DPP, conducted a ritual
sacrifice by slaughtering goats to remove the spell from the Malawi President.
The Guard Commander, Mr. Duncan Mwapasa, told the Commission that the trip
that the President made to Nigeria had nothing to do with T.B. Joshua. He explained that
the trip was to do with the issue of fuel supply. He confirmed to the Commission that
some time in 2011, the President received a book authored by T.B. Joshua. He told the
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Commission that just as with any mail coming to the President in form of a letter for
example or in any other form, State House security is always concerned about such kind
of items because they can contain harmful substances.
The Commission heard in evidence that the President did receive a book authored
by T.B. Joshua. The said book was one of three books that oneMs. Patricia Lungu, who
is said to be a representative in Malawi of T.B. Joshua’s Synagogue, Church of All
Nations, got from T.B. Joshua during one of her outings to T.B. Joshua’s place in
Nigeria. Ms. Lungu told the Commission that during her visits to Nigeria, she usually
gets books and other things that she gives away to people inMalawi. During one of her
visits, T.B. Joshua gave her three books described as anointed which T.B. Joshua advised
her to give to prominent people in society here in Malawi. Actually these were three
copies of the same book.
Ms. Lungu told the Commission that sometime, after she had returned from Nigeria
and brought the three books, she was invited to go and say a prayer on the
commemoration of theWorld Nurses Day activities that were taking place at Masintha
Ground in Lilongwe on 21st May 2011. While at that event, she met the Principal
Secretary for Health, Dr. Charles Mwansambo, who was the guest of honour at the
function. She took the opportunity to hand him two of the three books, one of which she
gave to him. She then asked Dr. Mwansambo, being a senior Government official, to
give the other book to the President. She kept the third book. Both books that were
given to Dr. Mwansambo were not wrapped.
Dr. Mwansambo acknowledged to the Commission having met Ms. Lungu at the
commemoration of theWorld Nurses Day event in Lilongwe. He told the Commission
that indeed he got two books from Ms. Lungu titled “Roadmap – Reaching Out To A
TroubledWorld”. One book was for himself and the other book he was requested byMs.
Lungu to give to the President. He told the Commission that after the function, he passed
on the book to Rev. Dr. Billy Gama, the President’s Advisor on Religious Affairs, with
a request to pass it to the President35.
Rev. Gama confirmed to the Commission that he indeed received the book as a gift
for the President from T.B. Joshua through Dr. Mwansambo around May/June 2011.
He confirmed having passed on the book to the President36.
Rev. Gama told the Commission that during the mourning period for the late
President, he received a call from a reporter of The Daily Times, Mr. Dickson Kashoti,
asking about T.B. Joshua and his prophecies. The question fromMr. Kashoti was on the
letter allegedly written by the late President to T.B. Joshua acknowledging that the
President knew that he was theAfrican Head of State whom T.B. Joshua had predicted
was going to die. This letter was shown on T.B. Joshua’s Emmanuel Television during
one of his sermons. The letter was shown by T.B. Joshua himself. He did so by
displaying it to the congregation.
Rev. Gama explained to the Commission that he advised Mr. Kashoti that the only
letter that the late President wrote to T.B. Joshua was the one that Rev. Gama himself
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35.A picture of a similar Book is attached as Annex 31.
36.Rev. Gama’s memo to the President on T.B. Joshua’s book, dated 26th May 2011 is attached as Annex 32
drafted and which was signed by the President acknowledging receipt of the book. Rev.
Gama told the Commission that he advised Mr. Kashoti that he was not aware of any
other letter that the President may have sent to T.B. Joshua. Rev. Gama told the
Commission that he recalled that the contents of the letter that he had drafted and which
the President signed did not refer to the prophecy by T.B. Joshua. He produced a copy
of the letter to the Commission which read as follows:
“24th February 2012
Prophet T. B. Joshua,
The Synagogue, Church of All Nations,
1, Segun Irefin Street
Ikotun Egbe
LAGOS
Nigeria
Dear Prophet Joshua,
I write this letter to sincerely thank you for the special gift of an
anointed book that you sent to me. This gesture is highly appreciated.
Man of God, you are no doubt aware of the numerous challenges
that the world is currently facing, but as a Christian, I do believe that
everything is possible with God.
My request is that as you continue to pray for various countries
and people, please remember the Malawi nation in your prayers.
May God Bless you and your ministry.
Sincerely,
Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika,
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI”.
Rev. Billy Gama informed the Commission that the said letter was dated 24th
February 201237. Rev. Billy Gama told the Commission that the President’s Secretary,
Mrs. FloraMuhara, confirmed to him that the letter was indeed sent to T.B. Joshua with
the same contents as outlined. He noted that the letter that T.B. Joshua was showing on
television was also dated 24th February 2012. However on television, T.B. Joshua just
showed the letterhead of State House and the President’s signature but did not show the
contents. Rev. Gama told the Commission that as far as he was concerned, the only
letter that was sent to T.B. Joshua from the President was the one dated 24th February
2012 and was merely acknowledging the President’s receipt of the books and nothing
else.
Rev. Gama further told the Commission that apart from this book, he also received
three books from GeneralMark Chiziko, retired, PresidentialAdvisor on Security, which
were also books by T.B. Joshua. This position was also confirmed in the testimony of
General Chiziko who indicated that he had received the said books fromMrs. Kadzeya,
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37. A copy of President Bingu wa Mutharika’s letter to T.B. Joshua dated 24th February 2012 is attched as Annex 33.
wife of his fellow retired Army officer, Lt. General Kadzeya, who had collected them
during a visit to T.B. Joshua in Nigeria. Rev. Gama told the Commission that he sent the
books to the ADC to pass them on to the President.
The President’s Personal Secretary,Mrs. FloraMuhara, told the Commission that the
President indeed wrote T.B. Joshua acknowledging receipt of the first book that came
through Rev. Billy Gama. She emphasized that the letter was simply an
acknowledgement of receipt of the book and nothing else.
On the President’s reaction to the prophecy, Mrs. Muhara submitted to the
Commission that as far as she was aware, at no point did the President express any
concern or reaction about T.B. Joshua’s prophecy. She stated that ordinarily the President
would have mentioned something about the prophecy but to her it seemed the prophecy
never bothered the President at all.
Similarly, theADC,Major Cyprian Kondowe, in his testimony told the Commission
that the President was utterly unconcerned by the prophecy although it was obvious
that he was aware of it.
Mrs.Muhara told the Commission that the letter that the President wrote was passed
on toMs. Patricia Lungu. She explained thatMs. Lungu was known to be T.B. Joshua’s
representative inMalawi who coordinated the activities and facilitated travels of people
who wanted to go to Nigeria.
About the unannounced trip to Nigeria, Mrs. Muhara told the Commission that she
was not aware of what the President went to do there on that trip.
5.2 THE POLITICALAND ECONOMIC SITUATION IN THE COUNTRY
The Commission took cognizance of the prevailing economic and political situation
close to the time of the death of the President.
The Commission received evidence that the situation may have appeared from the
outside not to have bothered the President. However, testimony from some witnesses
indicated that the situation did concern the President, if not openly, at least internally.
Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba told the Commission that a person in the seat of the President
has a lot of pressures and can develop conditions that can break him down. They may
be tough on the outside but very vulnerable inside. What were needed were constant
medical checks on them to make sure that their health conditions remained fine and
stable. Dr. Ntaba explained, just as did most witnesses who testified before the
Commission, that the late President was a strong man. He explained that the President
was under very heavy pressure and likened the situation to what happened to the late
Hon. Rodwell Munyenyembe who in 2005 collapsed from heart attack while presiding
over debates in Parliament and calling for order as the debates turned disorderly. He
was admitted at Kamuzu Central Hospital and later flown to South Africa where he
died. Dr. Ntaba further told the Commission that Presidents are also human and the
hostilities to which they are subjected may have consequences to their lives. He however
told the Commission that he himself as a medical doctor and a close aide to the President
73
never had cause to think that the President would succumb to a heart attack from what
he observed of him.
Rev. Billy Gama told the Commission that he recalled that on the fateful day, 5th
April 2012, he phoned the President in the morning. The President responded promptly
to the telephone call. In the ensuing discussion, Rev. Gama reminded the President that
the following day was Good Friday and asked the President where he was planning to
go and attend church service. Rev. Gama recalled that the President’s response was
that he was not going anywhere. Rev Gama recalled that the President said “No
sindipitako. A church angonditukwana.” [No, I will not go. Churches keep castigating
me.]
Rev. Gama then advised the President that it was the more reason he should go and
attend prayers and prove people wrong. He advised the President that sometimes it was
good to do the positive when people expect the negative from an individual and
recommended that the President do go and attend prayers at one of the Nkhoma Synod
CCAP churches. Rev. Gama proposed a church of that Synod because it was just a week
or two before when the Nkhoma Synod issued a pastoral statement pointing out some
of the challenges that the country was facing and which was also critical of the President
on governance. The President maintained that he was not going anywhere.
Rev. Gama then advised the President that he had received a call from Bishop
Bvumbwe of the Lutheran Church informing him that the Catholic Church, theAnglican
Church and the Lutheran Church had planned to have Njira ya Mtanda (theWay of the
Cross) jointly the following day, Good Friday, in Area 23, Lilongwe. They wanted to
invite the President but they thought the road was not in good condition. The President
responded that he was not going anywhere. Rev. Gama then gave up and wished the
President happy Easter and the conversation ended there.
It is also worth noting that the Commission was informed that the President had
established a Presidential Committee within Government headed by Hon. Goodall
Gondwe, which was mandated to enter into dialogue with the PublicAffairs Committee
(PAC) following the ultimatum that PAC had given to the President and Government.
The Commission received testimony from Mr. Robert Mbirizi Phiri, Executive
Director of PAC, that they received a lot pressure from Government on various issues.
He recalled that prior to the holding of PAC’s so called all inclusive consultative
conference in Blantyre, he held two meetings with Hon. Goodall Gondwe and Dr.
Hetherwick Ntaba. The other meeting was also attended by Hon. Peter Mutharika. At
both meetings, PAC was asked not to proceed with the conference in Blantyre because
Government understood that the agenda of the conference was about regime change. He
stated that the Government representatives seemed under so much pressure from the
President to stop the PAC conference.
Mr. Phiri told the Commission that apart from the Committee, he had also been
approached by Rev. Billy Gama asking him to have the PAC conference postponed. He
also told the Commission that the Police also asked PAC not to proceed with the
conference. The conference was initially planned to be held at Mount Soche Hotel in
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Blantyre. But it proceeded with change of venue to the conference hall of the Limbe
Cathedral of the Catholic Church after the booking atMount Soche Hotel was cancelled
at the behest of Government functionaries.
Mr. Phiri informed the Commission that the conference passed several resolutions
and among the key resolutions was that the President must resign within 60 days or call
for a referendum on the popularity of his Government within 90 days after the expiry
of the 60 days.
Mr. Phiri told the Commission that after the PAC conference in Blantyre, PAC had
three other meetings with the Government which discussed the issue of resignation of
the President. Mr. Phiri clarified to the Commission that the sequence of events was
that the President should resign within 60 days failing which he would be required to
call for a referendum within 90 days or risk nationwide mass demonstrations.
Mr. Robert Phiri explained that the most remarkable day was Tuesday, 3rd April
2012, two days before the President was taken ill. He explained that Dr. Hetherwick
Ntaba drove to his house and advised him that there was a meeting at Hon. Goodall
Gondwe’s house.Mr. Phiri proceeded to Hon. Goodall Gondwe’s house and the meeting
took place from around 10 pm. Mr. Phiri told the Commission that the main agenda for
the meeting was to discuss the 60 days ultimatum to the President. He was advised that
the President was very concerned with the call for his resignation and the meeting
wanted to know if that ultimatum was still standing. Hon. Gondwe and Dr. Ntaba
advised Mr. Phiri that the team was required to report to the President the same night.
Mr. Phiri told the Commission that he confirmed to the team that his instruction
from PAC Executive Board was that the call for the resignation of the President was still
standing. He informed the Commission that the meeting decided that there should be
another meeting where 6 people from PAC and 6 people from the Government side
should meet to discuss the matter further. The meeting was scheduled to take place on
Friday, 6thApril 2012.Mr. Phiri explained that on Thursday, 5thApril, he heard that the
President had collapsed and had been rushed to hospital.
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CHAPTER 6
FINDINGS
This Chapter presents the findings of the Commission based on the evidence that the
Commission received. Some of the evidence has been reviewed in the preceding
Chapters and the Commission has simply made its findings in this Chapter. Some of the
evidence has again been reviewed in this Chapter for the sake of putting the findings in
context.
The Commission has presented its findings in the order the evidence was received
which followed the order of events that occurred during the period. The findings have
been divided into the following areas:
(a) Findings in respect of the date and place of death;
(b) Findings in respect of the cause of death;
(c) Findings in respect of the medical attention available to the President at the
time immediately preceding his death;
(d) Findings in respect of the handling of the body of the President after his
death;
(e) Other findings incidental to and connected with the death of the President;
(f) Findings in respect of political transition; and
(g) Findings in respect of unusual occurrences and issues.
6.1 DATE AND PLACE OF DEATH OF THE LATE PRESIDENT
From the evidence that the Commission received throughout the Inquiry it is clear
to the Commission that the late President of the Republic of Malawi, Ngwazi Prof.
Bingu waMutharika, was fine at the beginning of the day on Thursday, 5thApril 2012.
He had his breakfast with the First Lady as usual. While in the office, he attended to
some few telephone calls and started meeting some of the people who had appointments
with him that morning.
It is clear to the Commission that the late President collapsed in the audience room
while having audience with Hon.Mrs.Agnes Penemulungu,Member of Parliament for
Lilongwe City South East. From the evidence received the Commission established that
the late President collapsed at around 11:10 in the morning.
The Commission further established that after collapsing in the audience room, the
President was carried to his office by the Aide de Camp (ADC), Major Cyprian
Kondowe, and a Security Officer from the National Intelligence Service (NIS), Mr.
Benfrey Kamanga. At that point the President could neither speak nor respond to the
ADC and was breathing with difficulties.
76
The Commission established that while in the President’s office, Mr. Kondowe and
Mr. Kamanga were joined by the Guard Commander, Mr. Duncan Mwapasa, and the
President’s physician, Dr. Dan Namarika.
It is also clear to the Commission that the President was carried from his office down
the lift to an ambulance in which he was taken to hospital. It was clear from the evidence
that at the time that the President was being carried downstairs and into the ambulance,
he was still unconscious and was gasping for breath. This condition of the President
remained the same as the ambulance was leaving State House.
From the evidence received, the Commission also established that at the time that
the President arrived at the Kamuzu Central Hospital, his eyes were closed, he was
motionless, could not respond to anything and that there appeared to be no sign of life
in him.
It was also the Commission’s finding that when the President was connected to the
machines in the ICU, there was no response whatsoever and, again, he showed no sign
of life.
The Commission established that the President was admitted into the ICU at 11:30
in the morning on the Thursday, 5th April 2012.
From the totality of the evidence received by the Commission on the aspect of date
of death and place of death of the late President of the Republic of Malawi, Ngwazi
Prof. Bingu Wa Mutharika, it is the Commission’s findings that the President died on
Thursday, 5thApril, 2012, in the ambulance, a Toyota Land Cruiser registration number
MG944AB, en route to Kamuzu Central Hospital.
It is further the Commission’s finding that the President was brought in dead (BID)
at Kamuzu Central Hospital at around 11.25 in the morning.
6.2 CAUSE OF DEATH
It must be mentioned that at the time of winding up its business, the Commission had
not been furnished with the postmortem report from the hospital that conducted the
postmortem on the President in SouthAfrica. The Commission made all efforts in a bid
to get the report of the postmortem examination including toxicology. In these efforts,
the Commission made several contacts with the Surgeon General in South Africa. The
Commission also sought the assistance of theMinistry of Health inMalawi and also the
assistance of the Malawi High Commission in South Africa. The Commission also
sought the intervention of the Malawi Head of State at that level. In the end the
Commission has been advised by the Malawi High Commission that the postmortem
report has not yet been issued by the hospital in South Africa.
Further, in the testimony of the formerMalawi High Commissioner to SouthAfrica,
Mrs.AgrinaMussa, she informed the Commission that the hospital authorities in South
Africa enquired from her as to whom to release the postmortem report when it has been
issued.Mrs.Mussa told the Commission that she then asked the former First Lady who
told her that the report should be released to the family.Mrs.Mussa advised the hospital
authorities accordingly.
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The findings made in this Report on this aspect are therefore based on the evidence
of witnesses who witnessed the postmortem examination in South Africa and
participated in the meeting that took place among doctors after the postmortem
examination to make a preliminary determination of the cause of death. These witnesses
are Prof. George Liomba, a specialist pathologist, and Dr. Dan Namarika, the personal
physician to the late President. The findings are also based on the Notice of Death that
was issued by Professor G. Saayman, Chief Specialist of Forensic Pathology Service,
Pretoria which records the cause of death. The Commission understood that Notice of
Death is not the same as the postmortem report.
The Commission established that despite the fact that the President looked normal
and acted normally, he was under very intense pressure in the period immediately before
his death.
The Commission established that the events that were taking place in the country
prior to his death such as the general political and economic situation, impending
demonstrations and calls for him to resign exerted so much pressure on him. The
Commission established that the President had a history of having suffered a heart attack
in 2009, which was however described as minor. The Commission established from the
submissions of two of the country’s senior medical specialists, Prof. Jack Wirima and
Prof. Johnstone Kumwenda, and from the testimony of Prof. Liomba that a person with
such history is prone to suffer repeated irregular heart conditions.
On the issue of cause of death, the Commission has concluded from the evidence
before it that the President died of cardiac arrest due to cardiac arrhythmia (irregular
beating of the heart).
6.3 MEDICAL ATTENTION AVAILABLE TO THE LATE PRESIDENT
IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING HIS DEATH
The Commission examined the medical facilities that were available to the President
generally and also looked at the help that the President got when he collapsed at State
House. The Commission noted that under the Presidents (Salaries and Benefits)Act the
only stated medical benefit for the President is to have a personal physician. The late
President as stated in this Report had a personal physician in the name of Dr. Dan
Namarika.
The Commission established that the facilities that were available at State House
for the President were purely of first aid nature. This was in the form of the President’s
medical kit which was always in the possession of the President’s personal physician.
The Commission further noted that there was an examination bed in the office of the
President’s personal physician.At the time that the Commission visited the office at the
beginning of the Inquiry in July 2012, there was no medical equipment in the office.
The Commission also established that there is a clinic at State House. This clinic
mainly caters for the general staff at State House and does not have facilities intended
for the medical care of the President.
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The Commission therefore makes the following findings:
(a) On the aspect of medical personnel at the service of the President, the
Commission finds that the President had a personal physician as required by
the Act in the name of Dr. Dan Namarika. He also had Mrs. Thenjiwe Dissi
Mittawa who served as the President’s nurse whose qualification, however,
was not as nurse but as a Medical Assistant.
(b) On the aspect of medical equipment available to the President, the Commission
finds that the medical kit at the disposal of the personal physician was adequate
but the Commission finds that it was inappropriate that the equipment was the
personal property of the President and did not belong to the Government.
(c) On the location of the office of the President’s personal physician, the
Commission finds that the office was located too far from the President’s office
for expediency in times of an emergency. The Commission noted that the office
was located a floor below the office of the President and that this would hamper
easy access by the doctor to the President and vice versa in times of an
emergency.
(d) As regards the help that the late President received at the time he collapsed, it
is the finding of the Commission that the medical attention that he received
was not adequate. The Commission found that there were several areas which
at the time that the President collapsed the President’s personal physician did
not perform satisfactorily or as would be expected, as follows:
(i) The President’s physician failed to immediately apply the required
procedures such as intubation of the President to secure the airway when
he proceeded to attend to the President as he did not have the required
equipment on him.
(ii) The Commission established that because of the injury to one of his arms
the President’s physician was physically unable to perform some of the
emergency medical procedures, such as CPR, that he would normally
have performed. As earlier indicated in this Report, the President’s
physician had been previously involved in a motor vehicle accident in
which he suffered injury to one of his arms and was undergoing
physiotherapy on the arm at the time of the President’s collapse. He was
therefore not able to make use of his injured arm. He could only conduct
the emergency procedures with both arms functioning.
(iii) While the President was laid in his office, the President’s personal
physician left the President unattended by any medical personnel and
rushed downstairs all the way to his house to collect the medical kit.
During this time there is no evidence that the non-medical staffs (all
security men) who were attending to the President were performing any
medical procedures to try and resuscitate the President.
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(iv) The two medical staff, that is, the personal physician and the personal
nurse, failed to apply the intravenous line (IV Line) as they were
proceeding in the ambulance to the hospital.While in their testimony they
sought to establish that they were doing something on the way to the
hospital, it is the Commission’s finding that there was nothing effective
that was being done in the ambulance en route to the hospital. With his
one arm injured, the doctor, in particular, was handicapped.
In view of the above, it is the Commission’s finding that the medical attention that
was accorded to the President from the time of his collapse to his arrival at the hospital
was not adequate. The Commission finds that this lapse of immediate medical attention
was a critical flaw in managing the President’s medical condition.
On the other hand, it is the Commission’s finding that the medical staff at Kamuzu
Central Hospital acted to the best of their ability in the attention they gave to the
President when he was referred to the hospital. However, those efforts came too late to
resuscitate or revive the President.
6.4 HANDLING OF THE BODY OF THE PRESIDENT AFTER HIS
DEATH
The Commission established that the handling of the body of the late President from
the time he was clinically pronounced dead at Kamuzu Central Hospital to the time that
the body was flown to SouthAfrica contributed to a condition of decomposition by the
time it arrived at the mortuary in South Africa at around 5 am on 6th April 2012. This
amounted to a period of about eighteen hours without the body of the President being
preserved as a dead body.
The Commission finds that the handling of the body of President Bingu wa
Mutharika, due to attempts to conceal his death, to have been most unbefitting for the
honour and respect of a Head of State in death.
6.5 OTHER FINDINGS INCIDENTAL TO AND CONNECTED WITH THE
DEATH OF THE PRESIDENT
6.5.1 Government Leadership in Managing the Affairs Relating to the Passing of
the President
The Commission established that in the immediate period of the President’s illness
and death, the leadership of the Government in managing the affairs of State relating to
the condition and demise of the President fell to three individuals. These were Hon.
Goodall Gondwe, MP, Hon. Prof. Peter Mutharika, MP, and the Chief Secretary Mr.
Bright Msaka, SC. This was in accordance with the practical, but unconstitutional,
situation which had evolved within the Executive at the time.
The Commission learnt that with the exclusion of the Vice President, Rt. Hon. Mrs.
Joyce Banda, from executive functions by the system, the ranking of seniority in
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Government put Hon. Peter Mutharika next after the President and then Hon. Gondwe,
third. Thus, Mr. Msaka, as Chief Secretary, was working with this leadership of the
Executive Branch of Government. They were all at the hospital at the time and were
accorded the fitting respect of sitting in the office of the Hospital Director which then
became their operational office.
6.5.2 Information Regarding the Death of the Late President
It is the Commission’s finding that after attempts to resuscitate the President at the
hospital failed, the hospital team of medical doctors, namely, Dr. Wesley Sangala, Dr.
Carlos Valera, Dr. NoordeenAlide and Dr. Dan Namarika, officially informed the senior
Government officials sitting in the Hospital Director’s office that the President had died.
These officials were Hon. Peter Mutharika, Hon. Goodall Gondwe and the Chief
Secretary, Mr. Bright Msaka, SC.
The Commission established that the evidence tendered during the Inquiry
overwhelmingly supported the fact that the three knew about the death of the President
right at the hospital. However, in their own testimony to the Commission the three
denied having been informed about the death at the hospital. From the totality of the
evidence tendered during the Inquiry, the Commission finds that the three were informed
of the death of the President by the team of the four doctors and therefore knew about
the death from as early as 2.30 in the afternoon.
It is also the Commission’s finding that Dr. Namarika personally communicated the
death of the late President to the President’s family right at the hospital. This
communication was followed by viewing of the body of the late President by three of
his family members, individually and in turn, namely, the First Lady, Madam Callista
Mutharika, the President’s daughter, Mrs. Duwa Mutharika – Mubaira, and the
President’s brother Hon. Peter Mutharika. The last to view the body in hospital was a
Catholic Priest, Father Taylor, who did so with the permission of the First Lady and
gave the last anointing prayer.
The Commission established that it was common knowledge among medical and
support staff working in the ICU at that time that the President had died.
The Commission established that apart from the medical and support staff working
in the ICU, the following people were among the first to officially know or be officially
informed about the death of the late President right at the hospital at or around 2.30 in
the afternoon:
• Hon. Peter Mutharika, MP, brother to the late President and Minister of Foreign
Affairs.
• Hon. Goodall Gondwe, MP, Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Resources.
• Mr. Bright Msaka, SC., Chief Secretary.
• Hon. Dr. Jean Kalirani, MP, Minister of Health.
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• Madam Callista Mutharika, First Lady.
• Mrs. Duwa Mutharika-Mubaira, the late President’s daughter.
• Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba, Presidential Spokesperson.
• General Henry Odillo, Commander of the Malawi Defence Force.
• Mr. Peter Mukhito, Inspector General of Police.
• Mr. Bintony Kutsaira, Director of National Intelligence Service.
The Commission also established that by the evening of Thursday, 5th April 2012,
it was commonly known by most CabinetMinisters and senior Government officials in
the Office of the President and Cabinet, Ministry of Health and at State House that the
President had died.
6.5.3 Attempts to Conceal the Death of the Late President
The Commission established that there were several attempts by those in authority
to conceal the fact of death of the late President. Among the attempts, the Commission
established the following:
(i) The President’s personal physician, Dr. Namarika, was instructed by the Chief
Secretary, Mr. Bright Msaka, SC, to advise the air ambulance crew that the
late President was being stabilized and that the air ambulance should still
come to Malawi to evacuate him as a patient. Dr. Namarika passed on this
message to the air ambulance crew with full knowledge that the President had
died.
(ii) The President’s personal physician, Dr. Namarika, failed to formally confirm
the death of the late President on the hospital file or on any record available
within the hospital. The Commission was not satisfied as to why he did not
confirm the death of the President here in Malawi bearing in mind that he
was part of the team of doctors who conveyed the message of death of the
President to the officials sitting in the Hospital Director’s office, to the family
members and the air ambulance medical personnel when they had arrived at
the hospital to evacuate the President. The Commission finds that the
President’s personal physcian, as the leading doctor attending to the President
at the hospital, had sufficient time to certify the death of the President in
Malawi.
The Commission also found that the hospital record of the President made available
to the Commission lacked a number of particulars including the name of the patient. The
Commission established that the hospital record fell short of the required standard of a
normal hospital record.
(iii) The Commission established that the President’s personal physician opted
not to disconnect all the medical equipment to the late President’s body in
order to give an impression that the President was still alive.
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(iv) The Government through the State House issued a press statement, aired on
MBC on 5th April at 8 pm, announcing that the President had been taken ill
and was being flown to South Africa for further medical attention. The
Commission established that this press statement originated from the Office
of the President and Cabinet and was sent to the State House Press Officer for
release. The State House Press Officer, Mr. Albert Mungomo, informed the
Commission that he released the press statement with only minor corrections.
The Commission established that the Chief SecretaryMr. BrightMsaka, SC,
was aware of the death of the late President yet his office caused the release
of the false press statement indicating that the President was ill when the had
in fact long died.
(v) After leaving hospital on the afternoon of the 5thApril 2012, with knowledge
of the President’s death, the Chief Secretary informed the Attorney General,
JusticeMaxonMbendera, SC, that the President was incapacitated. The Chief
Secretary asked theAttorney General for a legal opinion on the way forward
following the incapacitation which was an incorrect premise for the legal
opinion.
(vi) During the stand-off at Kamuzu InternationalAirport, there were suggestions
that the late President be taken back to KCH ICU instead of a mortuary. There
were also suggestions to take the body back from the airport to State House.
This was despite the fact that at that time, the late President’s body had been
exposed in the open space for over 10 hours and without its proper treatment
as a dead body. The Commission established that all these suggestions were
being made to hide the fact that the President had died.
(vii) At the meeting of Cabinet Ministers held at OPC on the morning of Friday,
6thApril 2012, none of the officials of Government or CabinetMinisters who
officially knew about the death of the late President disclosed to the gathering
that the President had died. Hon. Goodall Gondwe, Hon. Peter Mutharika,
Hon. Jean Kalirani and the Chief Secretary, Mr. Msaka, SC, attended the
meeting but none of them disclosed the true position. Hon. Gondwe was the
chairman of the meeting. Instead the gathering was advised that the President
had fallen sick and had been flown to South Africa for further medical
attention. Actually by that time, the President was lying in a mortuary in
South Africa. The other Cabinet Ministers who knew about the death, albeit
not officially, also did not raise any question or challenge about the true status
of the President’s condition.
(viii) The Commission further established that the meeting of the DPPNGC in the
afternoon of Friday, 6th April 2012, was also not told the truth by party
officials, notably by the Chairman of the meeting Hon. Goodall Gondwe and
also by Hon. Peter Mutharika, when he addressed the meeting in accepting
his election as Acting President of the party, regarding the true status of the
President. The meeting was told that the President had been taken ill and had
been referred to SouthAfrica for further medical attention when the President
had died, and was known to have died, in Malawi over twenty fours before
that meeting.
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(ix) The Commission finds that the decision not to disclose the fact of death of the
President immediately it had occurred was taken by the leadership, as
described, of the Executive Branch before they left hospital and all actions of
the Government and Government officials followed that decision.
(x) The Commission established that the President’s identity was disguised on the
particulars of his flight to South Africa with his name given as Mr. Daniel.
Phiri, although his passport number was correctly indicated.
6.5.4 Delay in Announcing the Death
The Commission established that there was unnecessary delay in the announcement
of the death of the President.
The Commission noted that there was failure by the Office of the President and
Cabinet to promptly take measures to announce the death of the President. The Chief
Secretary told the Commission that as a far as he was concerned, his office was not
responsible for announcing the death of the President and that it was his expectation that
the one to preside over the meeting of Cabinet Ministers would be the person to
announce death first to theMinisters after he, as Chief Secretary, had made his prepared
introductory remarks to the meeting. In the expectation of the Chief Secretary, this
meant that it was Hon. Goodall Gondwe that was to inform the meeting of Ministers
about the death of the President as he was the one presiding over the meeting. It is
however to be noted that it was indeed the Office of the President and Cabinet which
eventually announced the death of the President on Saturday 7thApril 2012 by issuing
a press release under the authority and signature of the Chief Secretary.
The Commission finds that it is the Office of the President and Cabinet, through the
Chief Secretary as keeper of the office, that was properly placed to announce the death
of the President.
The Commission established that before announcement of death the Chief Secretary
initially sought the permission of the First Lady, who directed him to clear the matter
with Hon. Peter Mutharika as brother of the President. The Commission further
established that the Chief Secretary then contacted Hon. Goodall Gondwe concerning
the announcement of death and Hon. Gondwe agreed that death be announce on 7th
April 2012.
The Commission established that the announcement of death on 7th April was
among other things, generally influenced by the international media which was reporting
about the death and more especially by pressure from the South African Government
which is said to have advised that President Jacob Zuma was going to announce the
death if the Malawi Government was failing or delaying to do so.
The Commission finds that the delay to announce the death of the President
immediately it occurred and within the reasonable time after the doctors had informed
the authorities on the day he died, on 5thApril 2012, was part of the scheme to prevent
the Vice President, Rt. Hon. Joyce Banda, to succeed the office of President in view of
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her political exclusion from the Executive and that this scheme was hatched early after
a team of doctors at Kamuzu Central Hospital had conveyed the message of the
President’s death to the Government authorities.
6.6 FINDINGS IN RESPECT OF POLITICAL TRANSITION
6.6.1 Meeting in the Office of the Hospital Director
The Commission established that there was a meeting involving Government
officials who were sitting in the office of the Hospital Director of KCH. The meeting
was attended by Hon. Peter Mutharika, Hon. Goodall Gondwe and Mr. Msaka, SC.
The Commission established that at some point while the officials were in the
hospital director’s office, they were briefed by the President’s personal physician who
painted a grim picture of the President’s condition and assured them of the efforts by the
medical personnel to do what was possible but added that, even if resuscitation efforts
succeeded, the President was likely to remain incapacitated.
Following that brief, the meeting discussed a number of things on how to handle the
political situation. They resolved, among other things, that the referral case against the
Vice President, Rt. Hon.Mrs. Joyce Banda, that was already in court be revived and that
a challenge be mounted against her being sworn in as President.
The Commission also established that the meeting resolved that the three officials
should meet the heads of the Malawi Defence Force and the Police to discuss the
situation.
6.6.2 Attempts to Stop the Swearing in of the Vice President and To Swear Peter
Mutharika as Acting President
The Commission established that Cabinet Ministers met at OPC on 6th April 2012
in the morning, where it was agreed that an injunction be obtained from the High Court
stopping the swearing in of the Vice President, Rt. Hon. Joyce Banda, as President.
From the evidence received in the Inquiry the Commission established that the
Ministry of Justice was instructed to institute the court process challenging the
ascendancy of the Vice President to the office of President.
The Commission established that court documents, including the affidavits in
support of the application, to stop the swearing in of the Vice President as President
were prepared by Dr. Zolomphi Nkowani, Senior Deputy Chief State Advocate, under
the supervision of the Attorney General, Justice Maxon Mbendera, SC. Preparation of
the court documents was completed by the evening of 6th April, 2012. The affidavits
were signed later before midnight by two Ministers, Hon. Henry Mussa, MP, and Hon.
Dr. Jean Kalirani, MP, in readiness of the filing of the application in court.
The Commission further established that the plan that was in place was that once the
court process was filed, Cabinet Ministers were going to proceed to elect an Acting
President and an Acting Vice President to take charge of the country. They would be
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invoking section 85 of the Constitution which allows for Cabinet Ministers to do so in
the event of simultaneous vacancies in the Offices of the President and Vice President
and thus asserting that the Office of the Vice President was vacant. The plan therefore
was that CabinetMinisters were going to have Hon. PeterMutharika sworn in asActing
President as soon as court process was taken and received by the court.
The Commission finds that the attempt and the decision to stop the swearing in of
the Vice President as President, albeit by court process, were by the entire body of
Ministers resulting from their discussion during the morning of 6th April 2012. The
only Ministers who did not attend the meeting were Hon. Dr. George Chaponda and
Hon. Reene Kachere. The decision of the Ministers was a collective one.
6.6.3 Request to the Army to take Over the Government
The Commission was informed that there was a request made to the Commander of
the Malawi Defence Force, General Henry Odillo, for the Malawi Defence Force to
take over Government. The Commission heard that in the first instance, while still at the
hospital, Hon. Peter Mutharika asked the Chief Secretary, Mr. Bright Msaka, SC, if it
would not be a good idea that theArmy took over Government. This idea was opposed
right away by the Chief Secretary who immediately sought assurance from General
Odillo on whether the Army knew its role in times of the event at hand.
The Commission further established that the MDF Commander, General Henry
Odillo, and the Inspector General, Mr. Peter Mukhito, were called to a meeting at Hon.
Prof. PeterMutharika’s house inArea 43 in Lilongwe. Present during the meeting were
Hon. Goodall Gondwe, Hon. Peter Mutharika, Mr. Bright Msaka, SC, General Henry
Odillo and Mr. Peter Mukhito. The meeting was held around 5 o’clock in the evening
on 5th April 2012.
The Commission was informed that at the meeting, Hon. Goodall Gondwe requested
General Odillo if the Malawi Defence Force could take over Government in the event
that their plan was not supported by the people and violence ensued. The Malawi
Defence Force was being requested in that event to take over the Government until the
situation had stabilized after which the Malawi Defence Force would hand over power
back to the politicians.
It is the Commission’s finding that the request for theMalawi Defence Force to take
over State power was made at the meeting but was turned down by General Odillo.
Despite denials by Hon. Gondwe, Hon. Mutharika and the Chief Secretary, Mr.
Bright Msaka, SC, the Commission stresses that its finding in this regard is based on
what it considered to be forthright testimony of General Odillo to the Commission both
in his first appearance before the Commission and during his second appearance on
recall. His testimony on this point was unequivocally supported by the testimony of the
Inspector General, Mr. Peter Mukhito, when he appeared a second time after he had
been recalled precisely on this issue of the take-over by theMalawi Defence Force if at
all it had been discussed at the meeting at Hon. Peter Mutharika’s residence.
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6.6.4 The Midnight Press Statement
The Commission established that Cabinet Ministers met in the evening of 6thApril
2012 to receive a report from the meeting of the DPP NGC that was held earlier in the
afternoon that day after the meeting of Cabinet Ministers in the morning. This second
meeting of Ministers was also held to receive progress report on the application for a
court injunction to stop the swearing in of the Vice President pending court
determination of the issue of her eligibility to succeed in the office of the President and
to allow Cabinet to elect anActing President and anActing Vice President under section
85 of the Constitution.
The Commission established that at this second meeting attempts were made by
someMinisters to have Hon. PeterMutharika elected asActing President of the country.
The Commission established that the meeting failed to agree on the matter. In the end
the meeting resolved that the election of Hon. Mutharika as Acting President should
only be done after court documents were filed in court and the order was granted. The
meeting noted that proceeding to elect Hon.Mutharika at the meeting as proposed would
prejudice the court case.
The Commission established that the meeting resolved that in the interim a press
statement should be drafted to prepare the general public about Government’s intention
to stop the swearing in of the Vice President, Rt. Hon. Mrs. Joyce Banda, as President
and to have Hon. Peter Mutharika instead sworn in as Acting President of the country.
The Commission established that five Ministers, namely, Hon. Patricia Kaliati,
Minister of Information and Civic Education, Hon. Henry Mussa, Minister of Local
Government and Rural Development, Hon. Dr. Jean Kalirani, Minister of Health, Hon.
Nicholas Dausi, Deputy Minister in the Office of the President and Cabinet and Hon.
Kondwani Nankhumwa Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International
Cooperation, were given the responsibility of discussing and drafting the intended
statement. The fiveMinisters were assisted in the drafting of the statement by the Chief
Secretary, Mr. Bright Msaka, SC, the Deputy Chief Secretary, Mr. Necton Mhura and
the President’s Legal Advisor, Mr. Allan Ntata. This is the statement that came to be
popularly known as ‘the Midnight Six Statement’ following its airing by a team of six
ministers close to midnight on the MBC Television on 6th April 2012. These six
ministers were the five named above plus Hon. Symon Vuwa Kaunda, Minister of
Sports, Youth Development andWelfare. As stated earlier in this Report, the statement
was read out by Hon. Mrs. Patricia Kaliati on behalf of the group.
Regarding the Midnight Press Statement it is the finding of the Commission that
the drafting of the statement was on the instructions of the full meeting of Cabinet
Ministers. It was read back to them in plenary after it had been prepared upon which
instructions were given to have the statement aired on MBC television and radio.
6.6.5 Abandonment of the Court Process by the Attorney General
The Commission established that the idea of going to court was abandoned on the
morning of 7th April 2012. The Commission established that the Minister of Justice,
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Hon. Ephraim Mganda Chiume, and the Attorney General, Justice Maxon Mbendera,
SC, agreed between them not to proceed with the matter. The Attorney General then
instructed Dr. Zolomphi Nkowani not to proceed with the process.
6.6.6 Attempts to Issue Court Process through Private Lawyer
The Commission established that after the Attorney General declined to proceed
with the court process, a private lawyer, Mr. Tamando Chokotho, was contacted that
morning of 7thApril 2012 to take over the case on behalf of the DPP in its own interest
as a political party. A meeting to issue such instructions took place at Hon. Peter
Mutharika’s house in Area 43. It was attended by notably, Hon. Peter Mutharika, Hon.
Goodall Gondwe and Hon. HenryMussa. The Commission established that the Deputy
Chief Secretary, Mr. Necton Mhura, also attended the meeting.
The Commission established that Mr. Chokotho refused to take up the instructions.
It is the Commission’s findings that it was at this point that attempts to go to court by
Ministers, or some Ministers, and by the party were abandoned.
6.6.7 The Judiciary and the Transition
From the totality of the evidence, the Commission established that there were no
judges who gathered at Hon. Peter Mutharika’s house on the 6th or 7th April 2012 for
the purposes of swearing Hon. PeterMutharika asActing President of the country. The
Commission however established that the Chief Justice went to the house of Hon. Peter
Mutharika on Friday, 6th , and Saturday, 7th ,April 2012 to offer his condolences to him
on the death of the President as a family friend.
6.6.8 The Malawi Defence Force and the Transition
The Commission established that as a State institution, the Malawi Defence Force
was the first to formally recognize the Vice President, Rt. Hon. Mrs. Joyce Banda, as
the legitimate successor to the late President following his death. This followed a
telephone call on Friday, 6th April, by the Vice President to the Commander of the
Malawi Defence Force, General Henry Odillo, requesting him to attend a press
conference that the Vice President had scheduled for that afternoon at her official
residence in Area 12. The Commander sent two senior officers, namely, Brigadier
General Ignatius Maulana and Major General John Msonthi, on his behalf, to the
residence of the Vice President to pay her the due recognition and salute her.
The Commission finds that this development significantly changed the course of
events and led all main players to accept the constitutional order that is laid in the
Constitution by which the Vice President is to assume the office of President in the
event of a vacancy in that office. The Commission commends the Malawi Defence
Force, led by the Commander General Henry Odillo, for their conduct in respecting the
country’s constitutional order and further for refusing the suggestion to take over
Government as the Commission has earlier reported.
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6.6.9 Ministry of Justice and the Transition
The Commission has established that the action of the Ministry of Justice and
ConstitutionalAffairs, in slowing down the process of applying to court for an injunction
to stop the swearing in of the Vice President, Rt. Hon. Mrs. Joyce Banda, as President
and in finally abandoning the process, contributed to avert what could have been a
chaotic and volatile political and security situation in the country, given the strong voices
that were coming from civil society and various other groups in the country opposing
the handling of the situation by the Government. Further, the Commission finds that
the attempt to present such an application to court by the Attorney General in the face
of clear provisions of the Constitution would have amounted to an abuse of the judicial
process by the very officers of State.
6.6.10 Reports of Looting of Government Property During Transition
The Commission established that reports of looting of Government property at State
House during the period were not substantiated or supported by the evidence gathered
during the Inquiry. The Commission however established that personal property
belonging to the President and to the First Lady was moved out of State House.
6 .7 FINDINGS IN RESPECT OF UNUSUAL EVENTS PRIOR TO THE
DEATH OF THE PRESIDENT
6.7.1 Prophecy by T.B. Joshua and Books by T.B Joshua received by the President
The Commission established that the President was not affected at all by T.B.
Joshua’s prophecy. The Commission established that the President’s trip to Nigeria had
nothing to do with T.B. Joshua’s prophecy but was a Government trip in connection
with sourcing fuel supply to Malawi.
On the books, the Commission established that none of the books by T.B. Joshua that
found their way to the President had been sent by T.B. Joshua specifically to the
President. The Commission further established that the President was not the only
person who had received books by T.B. Joshua in Malawi. The Commission further
finds that the books did not in any way have a bearing on the President’s health or death.
The Commission further established that the President did acknowledge to T.B.
Joshua in writing, by letter dated 24th February 2012, that he had received a book. This
response was in respect of the first book. The letter merely thanked T.B. Joshua for the
book and made no reference to the prophecy.
The Commission further finds that the President wrote to T.B. Joshua under the
mistaken belief that the book had been sent to him by T.B. Joshua himself and directly.
The President would most probably not have written his letter to T.B. Joshua if he knew
that this was not the case. In this respect, the Commission established that the President’s
aides were pestered to get the President to write the letter of acknowledgement which
he did in February 2012, nine months after the book had found its way to the President’s
Desk in May/June 2011, and which T.B. Joshua took advantage of display it to his
congregation, televised to the wider audience on his Emmanuel TV, but without
disclosing the exact contents of the letter.
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6.7.2 Political Situation in the period before the death of the President
From the testimony received the Commission finds that the general political
environment that prevailed during the period immediately before his death including,
demands for his resignation with absolute ultimatums and threats of nationwide
demonstrations, did concern the President to some degree.
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CHAPTER 7
RECOMMENDATIONS
7.1 MEDICAL FACILITIES AND MEDICAL PERSONNELL FOR THE
PRESIDENT
Looking at the events that occurred during the illness of the late President, the
Commission recommends to Government as follows:
7.1.1 Establishment of a Presidential Medical Facility
The Commission recommends that Government needs to construct or establish a
presidential medical facility at the headquarters of the Malawi Defence Force in
Lilongwe which is the seat of Government where the President regularly resides. Such
a facility needs to be properly equipped with top of the range medical equipment
dedicated to the treatment of the President in case of illness, as well as in case of death,
as is the practice in most other countries. Location of such facility within the military
compound will also serve to safeguard the security and privacy of the President, unlike
having the President admitted or treated at a public hospital.
7.1.2 First Aid Facility at State House
There is need for the Government to establish a well equipped first aid facility within
State House, as close to the President’s office as possible, to cater for any medical
emergency that may befall the President.
7.1.3 Amendment of the President (Salaries and Benefits) Act
The provision on medical benefits for the President in the President (Salaries and
Benefits) Act (Cap 2:02 of the Laws of Malawi) which provides for only a personal
physician should be amended to provide that the President shall be entitled to three
medical personnel, that is, a personal physician, a personal anesthetist and a personal
nurse, all of whom shall be persons properly qualified and experienced in their
capacities.
7.1.4 State of the Art Ambulance on Presidential Motorcade
The Commission recommends that there is need for a state of the art Presidential
ambulance on the Presidential convoy to replace the ambulance in use at the time of the
death of the President which in the view of the Commission did not have the necessary
emergency equipment and was not as spacious as to be suitable for the conduct of some
medical procedures, such as CPR.
7.1.5 Training of State House Personnel in First Aid
The Commission recommends that all close security personnel serving the President
should receive continuing training in first aid and CPR procedure.
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7.2 AVAILABILITY OF ESSENTIAL DRUGS IN THE ICU OF CENTRAL
HOSPITALS
In view of the testimony received by the Commission that when the President was
admitted at the ICU at Kamuzu Central Hospital, some essential emergency drugs were
not available, the Commission recommends that a routine procedure be developed for
ensuring that at all times essential emergency drugs and equipment are available in
Intensive Care Units at all central hospitals in the country.
7.3 ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE DEATH OF THE PRESIDENT
The Commission recommends that in the event of death of the President the Office
of the President and Cabinet, through the Secretary to the President and Cabinet, should
take prompt steps to announce the death of the President so as to facilitate timely
assumption of that office by the Vice President in accordance with the Constitution.
The Commission takes the view that the Constitution does not envisage a moment
when the country shall be without a Head of State. This is evident from the Constitution
itself in two provisions. First under section 81(4), the Constitution provides that the
President shall hold office until such time that his or her successor is sworn in office.
Secondly, under section 83(4) the Constitution provides for the instant assumption of
office of President by the Vice President in the event of a vacancy.
7.4 REVIEWOF THE CONSTITUTION
The Commission understood that the root cause of the political crisis which was the
subject of its Inquiry was the fall-out in 2010 between the then President and the Vice
President which resulted in the expulsion of the Vice President from the ruling party of
the President and the consequent exclusion de facto of the Vice President from
exercising executive functions within the State machinery, which included her exclusion
from Cabinet meetings. This crisis was allowed to fester and deepen for an extended
period with the result that Government and ruling party operatives and functionaries
followed the same line in treating the Vice President in their operations.
It is common knowledge that following her expulsion from the ruling party in 2010
the Vice President, Rt. Hon.Mrs. Joyce Banda, was ignored, disrespected and despised
by the entire Government machinery. As this Inquiry has shown, this state of affairs
continued even after the death of the President and up to the night before the day the
Vice President was sworn into office as President. It is clear to the Commission that,
strange as it may seem, there was no preparedness among Government and ruling party
functionaries that a President, or indeed that President Mutharika, could die a sudden
death while in office and that Mrs. Joyce Banda as Vice President was the only one
eligible, by the Constitution, instantly to step into that office. In this scenario, the crisis
that engulfed the country following the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika was a
crisis that was ever present waiting to happen.
The Commission has established that during the crisis the Vice President felt isolated
and initially had to look to outside Government structure for support for what was
correctly her role under the Constitution, which was to assume office of President and
take charge of the affairs of State.
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The Commission recommends that there is need to address the issue of work
relationship between a President and a Vice President in the course of their term of
office as the souring of their relationship has serious bearing on the affairs of State. As
we have seen in this Inquiry, this situation also had a bearing on the transition. The
Commission specifically recommends that the relevant provisions of the Constitution
be reviewed to address this issue. The Commission wishes to observe that the
occurrence of this issue of fall-out between the President and Vice President has
happened during all other terms of Presidential office since the present Constitution
was adopted in 1994.
In recommending this limited review of the Constitution, the Commission realises
that issues of human character and behaviour cannot be regulated simply by just laying
down constitutional provisions on paper. The Commission therefore further
recommends that the review could, among other things, consider the instituting of a
mechanism for mediation and conciliation in cases of clear and open manifestation of
rifts between the holders of the two high offices of State authority. The Commission
considers that it is important to seek to heal the rifts timely as they tend to affect the
operational structure of the State and to bring disrespect to those two highest offices of
the land. The Commission also has in mind that the very existence of a mechanism of
mediation and conciliation may in itself have the prospect of averting open rifts between
the holders of the two offices.
7.5 PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS AND PUBLIC OFFICERS
In the wake of the crisis which was the subject of this Inquiry, the Commission
appeals to all public officers in all public institutions to perform their functions, powers
and duties as impartial servants of the general public without regard to political influence
or expedience and at all times to act consistent with the law and the Constitution.
Similarly, the Commission recommends that all holders of political office desist
from exerting political pressure on public officers that would tend to compromise the
due performance of their duties in serving those offices and in serving the people of
Malawi.
7.6 ORIENTATION FOR SENIOR PUBLIC OFFICIALS TO STRUCTURES
OF GOVERNMENT
The Commission considers that one lesson learnt from the crisis that was subject of
this Inquiry is that it is wrong to assume that those holding high offices of State are
familiar and knowledgeable about the country’s constitutional order which the
Constitution enjoins them to respect in serving the people of Malawi.
The Commission recommends that the Government should develop programmes
for bringing together senior Government officials to share perspectives in government
practices and structures with the aim of exposing them to tenets of the country’s
constitutional order and to engender open and robust discourse among them about the
country’s constitutional order. The programmes to be developed should target
participation by officials at the level of Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Principal
93
Secretaries, and heads of Departments and State institutions without exception. The
programmes need not be held frequently but should be conducted with some regularity
to orient succeeding cohorts of those serving in such high decision making offices. The
goal would be to avoid the occurrence of such constitutional crisis, by actions or failings
of such public officials, as had happened in the matter of this Inquiry.
94

Lomwe & Code fail BBA


At least Code Sangala made a name in music long before his Big Brother Africa exploits. Others would argue that the same could also be said of Tendayi Namate who prides in the showbiz spotlight of DJ Lomwe.
But yes I would agree, but not further than the fact that the two’s musical augmentation equalled where both were DJs for radio stations, but that both have been musicians, that’s where I am putting the full stop.
Twice, Code had enjoyed the glare of international limelight when he represented Malawi in two Big Brother shows. Lomwe as well has also had second-chance-stint when he was invited as a performing artist at the Big Brother show after his participation as a housemate.
But if you check their musical presence on the market right now, you will be left unsatisfied as they are found more on media pages than they should be found in music players entertaining people through radios and dancing halls.
DJ Lomwe even attempted in vain to enlist the expertise of a fellow BBA housemate from Botswana Zeus, (real name Game Goabaone Bantsi) and collaborated to do a 12-track hip hop vibes ‘Double Wowza’ mix tape.
The rapper Zeus is no small man in the world of music. In 2010 he was ranked seventh on a list of the top 15 South African rappers and his song ‘Imagination,’ was once nominated for Best Reggae Dancehall video in the Channel O Music Awards. In 2009, he won the Best Hip Hop video.
Lomwe music career for starters, was instigated by a trip he took to Botswana after the BBA show where he met Zeus to record two tracks, one of which is the album title ‘Double Wowza’.
The duo reunited at the Lake of Stars Music Festival where they also recorded two tracks at around 2am – one of which is ‘Catch Me If You Can’ – after meeting up with Theo Thomson and set up a studio in a hotel room because Theo had the equipment handy.
Two more tracks were recorded after Lake of Stars, when Zeus decided to stay a little while to have ago at DJ Sonye’s Baseline Studio in Blantyre.
As fate had it, the two were invited to Kenya for a charity programme organised by that country’s BBA representatives, Nick and Milliscent and while there, they collaborated again to record more tracks under the stewardship of the East Africa’s urban music juggernauts in the likes of Nameless, Mad Tracks and Wyre.
As you can see the album was a production of chance and not of proper planning or music and marketing strategy. I will not be surprised if it is performing dismally on the market; that is if it is even on the market at all.
Just to show you that DJ Lomwe is under the ‘charms’ of Zeus, on his own in March last year at a Big Brother Africa (BBA) double-up party show at Chez Ntemba in Blantyre he completely lost it.
He collaborated with DJ Mbuzi but both shouted throughout their performance when they were trying to mimic what musicians do.
Now, after Code Sangala’s second Big Brother Show, he came with two surprises as he attempted to show that he is a decorated music artist.
He changed his stage name to C-O to signal the start of a solo music journey and secondly, he did it to the shock of sibling Shadre. Code and Shadre had together tapped fame using the Kapirintiya music outfit.
Code assured Malawians that “Kapirintiya remain intact while he was going solo to exercise his artistic right.
You cannot blame him when you consider that his musical background is ensconced in his late father’s musical talent and having tested maiden stage performance with his elder brothers Wallstone, presently at MBC, and Caesar you would be believe he won’t stumble.
I am wondering what his ‘Tradistic Soul’ album is doing on the market considering that it was equally launched with pomp – that is if inviting some of the BBA housemates that included Zimbabwe’s Bertha with whom he collaborated in the BBA house to perform the song ‘Luwalangu’ could earn that description – there is nothing to write home about.
Nothing that Code has done so far has reached the top bar set by the Ndirande based group Kapirintiya’s ‘Kwathu Ku Ndirande,’ album. Yes they did try to come up with the Christmas art piece ‘Noel’ and then ‘Bwenzi Langa’ but they were still found wanting, a solo performing Code has not changed the status quo either.
As Code once advised: “Leave it to time” perhaps I am not a patient man.
But when I try to imagine if such BBA exposure was given to artists like Peter Mawanga or Joe Gwaladi, they would not have taken it on the chin and wait for an invitation of sorts to act?
To me, DJ Lomwe and Code have failed BBA; they needed to take advantage of it to catapult their musical careers beyond the realms of poverty, but with the console of fame and artistic beauty oozing ingenious musicality.
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